March 12, 2010

UNPO Address Human Rights in Pakistan at the UN

Coinciding with the 13th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, UNPO has coordinated a series of events and a demonstration to highlight the issues and concerns of it Pakistani members.

Coinciding with the 13th Session of the Human rights Council in Geneva, which began this week; UNPO members from Balochistan, Sindh and Gilgit Baltistan have taken this opportunity to further promote their plight. In alliance with Interfaith International, UNPO has helped plan and co-ordinate two separate events focusing on the human rights issues in Pakistan, and the wider South Asian region.

The first of these events took place yesterday (11/3/2010) at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The event entitled ‘Human Rights in Pakistan’, was intended to focus on the thematic issues of Enforced Disappearances, Socio-Economic Discrimination, Military Operations and Freedom of Expression in Balochistan and Sindh provinces. Speakers included regional delegates such as Senator Sanaullah Baloch a former Pakistan Senator, Mr. Noordin Mengal UNPO representative of Balochistan, and Mr. Mehran Baloch a prominent Baloch activist, as well as international respected experts including Mr. Peter Tatchell a British human rights activist, Mr. Jacob Rothing an international expert on forced displacement in the South Asian region and Mr. Marino Busdachin who is the Secretary General of the UNPO.

Mr. Busdachin commented after the event that “the current desperate human rights situation, in Balochistan in particular, is extremely distressing and requires an urgent and effective response from the United Nations Human Rights Council”. Mr. Busdachin further commented that the conference was a “positive and necessary step towards raising the profile of the dire situation in Pakistan and is key to building momentum within the international community”. 

Mengal stated in his speech that "The Pakistan army has repeatedly attempted to subdue the Baluch movement for sovereignty and independence by using brute military force and by persecuting, criminalizing and assassinating Baluch political leader and human rights campaigners, but what it has failed to understand in over 60 years is that it cannot defy the will of the people by physically eliminating leaders, suppressing their voices or using brute state force...For the United Nations Human Rights Council and the international community to further ignore this alarming situation would be no less than a crime in itself." The event was followed today with a protest and demonstration held outside the United Nations in Geneva. The rally brought together a diverse group of activists, journalist and politicians seeking an end to the devastating circumstances in Balochistan and Sindh provinces. The delicate situation has made direct and productive dialogue an erroneous supposition of the Pakistan government who has continually sidelined or blocked attempts at holding constructive talks with NGO’s and representative organizations.

Mr. Mehran Baloch argued that "since the so called democratic government has come into power, the Pakistani intelligence service ISI, has been very active in its sinister operations in Baluchistan and internationally against the Baluch patriots and human right defenders." He continued by stating that " the Pakistanis have misled the international community by announcing a reconciliation package and continues to apologize for its wrong doings in the past whereas on the other hand it has embarked on an aggressive campaign of elimination and marginalization of the Baluch nation

The final segment of UNPO side events in Geneva this month will look to further address the situation of minorities in the South Asia region, culminating in a conference being held on Wednesday 16/3/2010 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The event will primarily focus on the concerns and issues of our members from Gilgit Baltistan and will again involve contributions from internationally recognized and respected speakers as well as local experts.