First International Conference on enforced-disappearances in Balochistan held in Geneva

GENEVA: The International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (IVFBMP) in collaboration of the International Humanist and Ethical Union organised a conference in Geneva against forced-disappearances in Balochistan. Delegates from the UK, USA, Canada, Norway and Spain participated. The conference was sponsored by Baloch leader Hyrbyair Marri, who could not travel to Geneva in person because the British authorities are holding his passport and and his preliminary application for asylum has been denied.

More Pictures of Conference

The Geneva Conference on Enforced Disappearances in Balochistan passed a resolution calling upon the United Nations to intervene in Balochistan and stop the crimes against humanity being perpetrated on the Baloch people by the Pakistan military, military intelligence and Inter Services Intelligence.

A key U.N. official while calling for “National reconciliation” demanded reparation from Islamabad for the Baloch victims of Pakistani atrocities.

In a message, Jeremey Sarkin, president of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary disappearances said, ‘”I hope this conference is an important step in dealing with the issue of enforced disappearances. Resolving the question of enforced disappearance in any country is an important step towards achieving a national reconciliation. However, processes of truth, justice and reparation must also occur.”

The conference was organized on the sidelines of the 30th anniversary of the founding of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances in Balochistan.

Maya Pastakia, Afghanistan and Pakistan campaigner at the London head office of the Amnesty International, also expressed her concerns over the kill and dump policy being pursued in Balochistan, and gave out a presentation on how best to counter enforced disappearances in Balochistan in an organized fashion. This is the first time Amnesty International has begun giving focused attention to the issue of extra judicial killings and enforced disappearances in Balochistan.

The International Voice for Missing Baloch Persons expressed grave concern that the guardian of the international humanitarian law, the International Committee for the Red Cross stayed away from the conference in spite of repeated invitations, but expressed relief that the I.C.R.C. has said it will look into establishing a 24-hour telephone hotline for victim families of extra judicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture.

In a heart-rending speech Laurie deamer, presiding council member of the American Friends of Balochistan, called Pakistan an occupying state that has thrown the Geneva Conventions to the winds in Balochistan.

“They have anxiously gone from one police station or army camp to the next, desperately hoping to find them, and at each one they have faced the denial of the officials who arrested them, claiming to have no information regarding their whereabouts or fate,” Deamer said.

She said “They take to the streets and set up hunger strikes, waiting for the international community to put pressure on the occupying State to either inform them of their loved ones whereabouts or release them,” adding. “They can see that their children are anxious and depressed. They are already beside themselves with worry, and on top of that they face overwhelming financial hardship.”

She said many of the victim families are now almost certain that their relative has been killed in custody, and ask only that their bodies be entrusted to them so as to bury their loved one with dignity and honor. “These families plead for justice now, asking that the State, which has devalued human life and violated international law and the Geneva conventions, be held accountable,” Deamer said.

James Nichols, lawyer for Hyrbyair Marri, said the trial of Hyrbyair Marri in London was a big scam and charade unprecedented in the judicial history of the United Kingdom. Nichols who had met Ghulam Mohammed when he went to Quetta on behalf of his client and that he was devastated when he heard about the enforced disappearance and then killing and dumping of bodies of Ghulam Mohammed, Lala Munir Baloch and Sher Mohammed Baloch.

In his speech, Karlos Zurutuza, who visited Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, who was recently in Kabul, the chance to meet several colleagues in Kabul who had travelled to Afghanistan in order to cover the last parliamentary elections in the country he said he met foreign correspondents in Kabul, who were earlier based in Islamabad, but “none”, had ever visited Balochistan.

“All of these colleagues told me that they’d love to travel to Quetta and surroundings, but that they couldn’t because Islamabad did not give them permission to do so. If they did, they said, they would be deported never to set foot in Pakistan again,” Zurutuza, who is a winner of the Nawab Akbar Bugti Award, said. “I’m now thinking of Carlotta Gall, a very reputed journalist working for one of the biggest newspapers in the world [The New York Times]. She was badly beaten in Quetta by men who identified themselves as members of a special branch of the Pakistan police, and who accused her of “being in Quetta without permission.”

Others who spoke on the occasion included, Aziz Baloch, IVBMP Canada Chapter coordinator; Rene Wadlow, geneva representative of the Association of World Citizens; Dr. S. Karimzadi, UK Coordinator of the IVBMP; Mahnaz Baloch, Baloch human rights activist based in London, and Zubair Baloch, prsident of the Baloch Society of Norway.


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2 responses to “First International Conference on enforced-disappearances in Balochistan held in Geneva

  1. Pingback: BHRC letter to British Prime Minister | Baluch Sarmachar

  2. Pingback: BHRC appeal for British intervention in Balochistan against Pakistani state atrocities in Balochistan | Baluch Sarmachar

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