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Public meeting

The Baluch - Invisible Victims of the ‘War on Terror'

Tuesday, 5 May, 7pm

Committee Room 4a, House of Lords

Hosted and chaired by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC

Speakers include:

Gareth Peirce, human rights lawyer

Hyrbyair Marri

Faiz Baluch

Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

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 www.campacc.org.uk

For information contact Estella estella24@tiscali.co.uk tel 020 7586 5892