Human Rights Situation in Baluchistan -
Pattern of Repression: Conference Details
On March 20, 2009 foreign observers and members
of the Baluch community attended a conference titled
"The Human Rights Situation in Baluchistan -
Pattern of Repression" at Palais Des Nations,
Geneva, Switzerland. Organized by Noordin
Mengal, the conference followed a demonstration
held at "The Broken Chair", also at the
Palais des Nations.
||The conference was
N Gilmore (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights /OHCHR)
Mario Silva (Canadian MP and Official Opposition Critic for Foreign Affairs)
Paulo Casaka (Portugese Member of European Parliament)
Agnes Vanema (UNPO)
Paul Stromberg (Chief of Field Safety Section UNHCR)
Noordin K. Mengal (Interfaith International)
Mehran Baluch (Interfaith International/ Balochistan Rights Movement)
Senator (R) Sanaullah Baloch (Information Secretary Balochistan National Party)
Peter Stania (Director of the International Institute for Peace)
Lakhumal Luhana (Secretary General World Sindhi Congress/Sindhi-Baloch Forum)
Dr. Charles Graves (Secretary-General Interfaith International)
Munir Mengal (Director Balochvoice TV and former victim of ED)
Samad Baloch (Secretary-General Baloch Human Rights Council)
Abdoul Nasser Mohtashami
Many foreign observers and NGOs also attended the meeting
for pictures of the conference.
Issued by Samad Baloch,
Secretary General, Baloch Human Rights Council,
Mar 24, 2009: "Interfaith international with
the collaboration of UNPO, Baloch Human Rights
Council, World Sindhi Congress, Sindhi Baloch Forum
and Balochistan Rights Movement held a peaceful
protest rally against the Pakistani and Iranian
state terrorism and brutalities in Balochistan
on Friday 20 March 2009 from 9.00 am to 12.00 pm
in front of the United Nations office in Geneva
Switzerland. The slogans on the placards high lighted
various aspects of human right violation of the
Baloch by the Pakistani and Iranian States..." (reposted at
Geneva conference on Balochistan: Former
Senator Sanaullah Baloch's statement on Balochistan
in UN Human Rights Council 23 March 2009; Photos
International Community Must Act Now to Save the
Baloch from Extinction, letter to President
of the United Nations Human Rights Council by Interfaith
International, UNPO Secretariat, Baloch Human Rights
Council, Sindhi Baloch Forum
leader demands the end of the Pakistani and Iranian
occupation of Balochistan, BSO-na.org, Mar
12, 2009: "Dr. Wahid Baloch, President of
the Baloch Society of North America, has demanded
that the United Nations help end the Pakistani
and Iranian occupation of Balochistan..."
Below are related accounts:
Balochistan: HRC Urged to Address Human Rights Violations,
UNPO, Mar 24, 2009
Balochistan: Continuation of Repression Highlighted
at UN, Mar 25, 2009
Balochistan: Continuation of Repression Highlighted at UN, Mar 25, 2009
Alongside the 10th session of the UN Human Rights
Council (HRC), UNPO and Interfaith International organized
a briefing on the deteriorating human rights situation
in Pakistani Balochistan.
part of the efforts to highlight the deteriorating human rights situation in
Pakistani controlled Balochistan, Interfaith International, in cooperation with
UNPO, organized an interactive debate alongside the 10th session of the UN Human
Rights Council (HRC).
Main participants to this event included representatives of the Balochistan National
Party (BNP), representatives of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human
Rights (OHCHR), Member of the European Parliament Mr. Casaca, Member of the Canadian
Parliament Mr. Silva, representatives of the Sindh community in Pakistan, as
well as a spokesperson of Iranian controlled Balochistan.
Dr. Charles Graves, Director of Interfaith International, opened the meeting
by giving a brief account of where the Baloch people are located, who these peoples
are and then in further detail outlines the conflict that Pakistani controlled
Balochistan has with the Pakistani government. Dr. Graves also outlined the economic
repression of the Baloch community and particularly the lack of revenues that
the Baloch community gets from the natural resources which are extracted from
It was Senator Sanaullah Baloch who provided the attendees with a detailed account
of the history of Balochistan, which is seen as the source of the conflict with
the government of Pakistan. Furthermore, Senator Baloch highlighted various areas
in which the human rights of the Baloch are blatantly ignored, including a number
of civil and political rights, as well as Social, Economic and Cultural rights.
Detailed statistics evidently supported claims of ongoing repression of the Baloch
community and showed a pattern of systematic underdevelopment of the region,
particularly in the fields of education.
UNPO United Nations Coordinator, Ms. Agnes Venema, briefly highlighted the international
obligations of Pakistan as a signatory to several international treaties. Though
highlighting the efforts made by the new government of Pakistan, which recently
signed onto the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well
as the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment
or Punishment, she highlighted that signing a document does not yet constitute
ratification, which can take up to years. Furthermore, Ms. Venema expressed skepticism
in terms of those who are allegedly responsible for human rights violations being
brought to justice. A culture of impunity prevails in Pakistan and even publicly
committing oneself to international instruments put in place to protect the human
rights of all cannot guarantee that those rights are being implemented as long
as such a culture of impunity is being sustained.
Mr. Mehram Baluch, being one of the first Baloch to come to the United Nations
in 2001 to highlight the Baloch plight, was proud to be able to speak at the
event, despite intimidation suffered at the hands of the Pakistani government.
He gave detailed account of how far the Baloch have come in the past decade and
welcomed the fact that so many had come to attend an event which aimed at providing
more information on the current and ever deteriorating situation of the Baloch
only members of the Baloch community took the floor. Mr. Peter Stania, Director
of the International Institute for Peace in Vienna also took the opportunity
to speak at the event. He echoed some of the remarks made before and emphasized
that peaceful means are to be deployed in order to overcome the violations suffered
Hon. Mario Silva, Member of the Canadian Parliament and shadow foreign affairs
critic also took up some moments to highlight the fact that the West cannot ignore
this issue and that immediate action is needed.
Furthermore, the Honorable Paulo Casaca, Portuguese Member of the European Parliament
for the Socialist Group had also taken the time to comment on the human rights
situation of the Balcoh. Being the Vice-chair of the South Asia Peace Forum,
he emphasized the efforts that have been taken to look for a sustainable resolution
to this conflict. He added, however, that the highest right in his opinion was
the right to an identity, including the right to a language and a culture.
UNPO Representative for Balochistan, Mr. Noordin Mengal, gave testimony of the
repeated military operations that have been launched by the Pakistani government
in Balochistan. He added that the government and the army of Pakistan could kill
the Baloch, but that they will not be able to kill the ideas of a people.
As a painful reminder of the harsh conditions that the Baloch live under on a
daily basis, Mr. Munir Mengal, gave a detailed record of the conditions of him
enforced disappearance. After launching a Baloch tv chanel, Mr. Mengal was detained
at the hands of the Pakistani military and tortured. Throughout his detailed
account, he emphasized the repressive nature of the Pakistani military towards
to Baloch. Mr. Mengal was fortunately released after which his testimony was
recorded by the International Committee for the Red Cross, though he will remain
scared for life.
On behalf of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Mr.
Neil Gilmore, temporary Pakistan desk officer, gave an account of the activities
of the OHCHR in relation to Balochistan. He recalled the letters of allegation
that the Working Group on Enforced Disappearances had send to Pakistan and the
fact that this information had also be relayed to the Human Right Council in
its latest report. Furthermore, he highlighted the joint efforts of a number
of Special Procedures Mandate Holders who had prepared communications and letters
of allegation which attempted at retrieving the truth about these alleged victims
of human rights abuses at the hands of the Pakistani regime. Furthermore, Mr.
Gilmore agreed to accept a memorandum on behalf of the Unrepresented Nations
and Peoples Organization (UNPO), Interfaith International, Baloch Human Rights
Council and the Sindhi Baloch Forum calling for increased international pressure
on Pakistan to improve the human rights situation in Balochistan.
As a last speaker, Mr. Luhana of the World Sindhi Congress expressed his support
to the Baloch cause. Suffering from similar human rights abuses, the Sindh feel
closely related to the struggle for human rights of their Baloch neighbours.
He appealed to the international community to step in and increase support to
those who continue to struggle for their human rights.
Before closure of the meeting, Mr. Mehram Baluch once more reiterated the appeal
that UNPO on behalf of its Baloch members has published. He pleaded for the
safe return of UNHCR employee Mr. John Solecki who had been abducted by, what
Mr. Baluch called “foolish Baloch who saw no other way out”. He appealed directly
to them, stating that the UN is listening. Proof of this is the fact that the
meeting was attended by numerous UN members of staff. Mr. Baluch appealed for
his safe return and pleaded against such acts of utter desperation. The appeal
publically welcomed by the representatives of the UNHCR, who pledged to forward
the message to the Secretariat.
Balochistan: HRC Urged to Address Human Rights Violations, UNPO, Mar 24, 2009
UNPO and the Baloch community demonstrate in Geneva
for the international community to intervene in the worsening
human rights situation in Balochistan. UNPO United Nations
Coordinator, Agnes Venema, is currently attending the
Human Rights Council in Geneva to lobby for the human
rights of the Baloch people in East Balochistan and West
The Baloch people are currently suffering from severe human rights violations
including enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings, and detention without
trials, subjected to indiscriminate force as well as forced displacements.
Alongside meeting with various UN member states missions, UNPO and the Baloch
community have also demonstrated in Geneva to highlight the current situation
of the Baloch people in Greater Balochistan.
In a memorandum released ahead of the demonstration, the UN and the wider international
community was urged to ‘do its utmost to stop the unlawful assault of the Baloch
people', in order to stop a whole nation being ‘systematically… being wiped out
by the Pakistani and Iranian state through cultural, economic, political and
The UN are being called upon to establish a fact-finding mission to investigate
the human rights violations, to bring perpetrators to justice and to halt the
acts of aggression against the Baloch people.
Repeated human rights violations have been documented by reputable organizations
and international humanitarian's institutions.