Baluch - Invisible Victims of the ‘War on Terror'
Tuesday, 5 May, 7pm
4a, House of Lords
Hosted and chaired
by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC
Gareth Peirce, human rights lawyer
Peter Tatchell, human rights
Baluchistan human rights activists, Hyrbyair Marri and Faiz Baluch, were acquitted
of terrorism charges by a London court on 11 February 2009.
The 15-month case served
to highlight the close cooperation between
the UK and Pakistan governments in the so-called “war on terror”. Defending Baluch,
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC said he was a “casualty
of geopolitics” and the US led war on terror.
The Baluch people, long
enduring fierce repression, have been campaigning
for democracy, human rights and self-determination.
Repression was intensified during the former
regime of General Musharraf, but there has
been little let up since the change of government
in Pakistan. Baluchistan
is the largest of Pakistan's four provinces,
but the region cuts across the borders in to
Afghanistan and Iran. The Baluch are one of the
world's unrecognised nations now struggling for
survival in the face of “unprecedented levels
of repression”, and “suffering a slow death” in
the words of Helena Kennedy QC.
During the trial of the two activists, even the prosecution accepted the Baluch
people were an oppressed minority, and that they have been victims of war crimes
and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Pakistani military, police and
intelligence services. There has been indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas,
extra-judicial killings, disappearances, torture, detention without trial and
collective punishments such as the destruction of villages, crops and livestock.
These countless violations of international
law largely go unnoticed by political leaders
in the democracies of the West because they are
keen to maintain their close strategic alliance
with Pakistan. It is time that these policies
were changed and that the Baluch were granted
the legitimate rights enjoyed by the peoples
of the world.
The meeting is sponsored by CAMPACC
For information contact Estella firstname.lastname@example.org tel
020 7586 5892