Human rights activists, political leaders, Baluch nationalists and students from various parts of the world gathered in Geneva on March 10 to raise the issue of human rights violations in Pakistan’s province of Baluchistan.
The event titled “Human Rights, Regional Security and Perspectives for Baluchistan and Pakistan Post-2014” was held at Palace of Nations, Geneva on the sidelines of the 110th session of the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) together with the United Towns Agency for North-South Corporation and Baluchistan House organizes the event.
The speakers highlighted the worsening human rights situation, especially the issue of missing persons in the province.
“There is an ongoing military operation in Baluchistan. It has intensified in the last few months. In the last week alone, over 100 young Bugtis were killed in Dera Bugti area alone. And now we are requesting the international community to halt or to pressurise Pakistan to halt all military operations in Baluchistan because operations are happening across Baluchistan,” said Baluchistan’s representative to the UN, Mehran Marri Baluch.
In January 2014, mass graves were discovered in the district of Khuzdar, Baluchistan, current day Pakistan.
Numerous bodies of Baluch individuals were discovered, although most remain unidentified and the families of the disappeared still live in uncertainty about the faith of their beloved ones.
“There is a serious case of mass genocide taking place in Baluchistan. Even in the American Congress it was raised last month that mass graves were found in the area of Khuzdar called Tutak where 167 previously abducted or disappeared Baluchs mutilated, decomposed bodies were found. This is crimes against humanity and Pakistan should be held accountable for these crimes it is committing against Baluch nation,” added Mehran Baluch.
The conference gives special attention to Baluchistan, which is covering parts of Iran, Afghanistan and is currently Pakistan’s largest and most resource-rich province.
Baluchistan’s secular people face enforced disappearances, summary executions, economic exploitation, militarization, political disempowerment, talibanization and nuclear testing.
To address these gross human rights violations and important global and regional security challenges, international experts, academics, Baluch representatives and high-ranking politicians came together to share their insights and expertise concerning the uncertain future of Baluchistan, Pakistan and the wider region.
Speakers Included T. Kumar, International Advocay Director Amnesty USA; Ryszard Czarnecki, Polish MEP; Paulo Casaca, Founder and Executive Director, South Asia Democratic Forum; Russ Hiebert, Canadian MP; Tarek Fatah, author, columnist and broadcaster; Burzine Whagmar; Centre of South Asian Studies, SOAS; and Willem Marx; journalist, author of ‘Baluchistan at a Crossroads’.
However, a demo was also organized in Geneva with banners depicting the atrocities committed by Pakistan’s secret agencies on Baluch people.