Experts voice concern over rights violations, killings in Balochistan at UNHRC meet(Update/Balochistan)

Geneva (Switzerland), Mar.12: Human rights activists, political leaders, Baloch 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 Balochistan.

The event titled “Human Rights, Regional Security and Perspectives for Balochistan 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 Balochistan. 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 Balochistan because operations are happening across Balochistan,” said Balochistan’s representative to the UN, Mehran Marri Baloch.

In January 2014, mass graves were discovered in the district of Khuzdar, Balochistan, current day Pakistan.

Numerous bodies of Baloch 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 Balochistan. 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 Balochs mutilated, decomposed bodies were found. This is crimes against humanity and Pakistan should be held accountable for these crimes it is committing against Baloch nation,” added Mehran Baloch.

T.Kumar, International Advocacy Director, Amnesty USA, said: “For the world body, international human rights organizations and the U.N., it is a challenge, how to bring attention that is being paid in Pakistan for war on terror to also focus on the people of Pakistan, namely the Balochistan.

The conference gives special attention to Balochistan, which is covering parts of Iran, Afghanistan and is currently Pakistan’s largest and most resource-rich province.”

Russ Hiebert, a Canadian lawmaker, said: “According to the independent human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch hundreds of Baluch have been killed while in custody of Pakistani security forces. Reports from these groups detail Enforced Disappearances, torture, summary executions and deaths in custody. // All these rights groups affirm that security agencies employ kill and dump tactics in which the victim is firs abducted, tortured, and killed in cold blood and then dumped in open fields.”

Mario Silva, a former Canadian lawmaker, said: “Human rights violations could soon escalate as Pakistan has passed a new controversial law ‘the Pakistan Protection Ordinance’ which legalizes enforced disappearances. What this means is that instead of strengthening the human rights instruments, which is what needed in the country the government instead wants to strengthen the rights of the army to act with impunity.”

Balochistan’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, Baloch representatives and high-ranking politicians came together to share their insights and expertise concerning the uncertain future of Balochistan, Pakistan and the wider region.

Among the other speakers who took part were Ryszard Czarnecki, Polish MEP; Paulo Casaca, Founder and Executive Director, South Asia Democratic Forum; Tarek Fatah, author, columnist and broadcaster; Burzine Whagmar; Centre of South Asian Studies, SOAS; and Willem Marx; journalist, author of ‘Balochistan at a Crossroads’.

However, a demo was also organized in Geneva with banners depicting the atrocities committed by Pakistan’s secret agencies on Baloch people. By Ravi Khandelwal (ANI)