An Open Letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres
His Excellency Mr. António Guterres
United Nations Secretary-General
New York, NY 10017
Dear Mr. António Guterres,
On behalf of the Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC), we would like to thank you for your services to the global community in promoting international harmony, peace and security. The BHRC is an international rights organization working for the protection and promotion of the rights of the people of Balochistan in Iran and Pakistan since 2008. We have organized several campaigns in Geneva, Switzerland and have written to the UN top officials on numerous occasions about the appalling human rights situation facing the Baloch people in the religious fundamentalist states of Iran and Pakistan.
The news of your upcoming visit to Pakistan has come as a great hope for the marginalized people of Balochistan who have long been calling for UN help to bring an end to their decades’ old miseries. We have been highlighting the fact in our previous letters to the UN that the security agencies of Pakistan have been carrying out a systematic genocide of the Baloch people for the last fifteen years. Subsequently, thousands of houses are being attacked, villages are being burnt, and properties are being ransacked. Women, children and elderly people are being humiliated on a daily basis. The enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killings of political and human rights activists have become a norm in Balochistan, where security agencies are operating with impunity. The security agencies’ modus-operandi is to abduct, torture, and hold the activists incommunicado for indefinite periods. These inhuman acts are being carried out in order to silence the voice raised by the Baloch people for their genuine socio-economic rights and their right to self-determination.
Our data that can also be corroborated with the various independent human rights organizations including the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, shows that more than 5,000 Baloch political activists, leaders, and human rights defenders have been forcibly disappeared by the security forces and thousands of them have been extra-judicially murdered with more than 500 of them murdered in 2019 alone.
Economic exploitation is another aspect of the human rights violations by Pakistan. The so-called mega projects in Balochistan including Duddar, Saindak, RekoDiq have all been leased out to Chinese corporations against the will of the Baloch people. They are ruthlessly exploiting natural resources, going against the standards of business ethics and eco-friendly approaches leaving far-reaching damages to the environment. The irony is that despite their wealth in natural resources, the people of Balochistan live below the poverty line.
The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has further aggravated the socio-cultural situation in Balochistan. The villages falling en route to the CPEC projects are being forcibly displaced and the lands are being allotted to the Chinese without the consent of the people and without any compensations.
Above all is the state-sponsored religious extremism that is being practiced in Balochistan by the state security forces. The UN-designated terrorist groups including the splinter groups of Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi are being provided shelter and support by the security forces of Pakistan to counter the Baloch national resistance. Due to huge financial support extended to these groups by the state, the number of religious seminaries (madrassas) has spiked to over 14,000 whereas the number of schools all over Balochistan remains 13,000. The re-grouping of religious groups with the complicit support of the state runs the risk of endangering the current regional and international order. It is endangering the already delicate situation of peace and security in the region.
Pakistan is fighting a war against the Baloch people for the last two decades. It is a war without witnesses. The province has been declared a no go area by the security agencies. National and international media, human rights groups and social activists are banned to enter the province for the last 15 years.
In the light of the above-mentioned facts, we request your good office to personally visit Balochistan and meet the family members of the victims of enforced disappearances and extra-judicial murders.
Dear Mr. Secretary General,
The situation in Balochistan requires your urgent attention. Your personal intervention can save many lives. It can end the miseries of many hundreds of disappeared people and their family members. Besides visiting Balochistan personally and meeting the victims of state terrorism, we would like to request the constitution of a fact-finding mission to ascertain the gravity of the human rights situation in Balochistan.
We demand justice for the Baloch people and failing to do so is letting down a people who are being minced under the powerful jaws of the military establishment of a recognized rogue state. We believe that no individual or state should be above the international laws. Those who are responsible for grave violations of human rights in Balochistan must be held accountable.
With the highest personal regards,
Baloch Human Rights Council
Contact number: 0044 (0) 7825087032