A pavilion entitled “Save the Baloch” has been set up outside the offices of the United Nations in Geneva adjacent to iconic broken chair. The campaign is a push by rights activists to garner greater international awareness for the near-extermination of the people of Balochistan.
Pakistan occupied Baloch lands in 1948 and crafted a religious state, imposing alien cultural traditions upon the people of Balochistan at the expense of their traditional beliefs and practices. This was a flagrant intrusion into the Baloch way of life and a blatant denial of the secular and democratic principles to which the Baloch cling. Since the Pakistani government invaded the region, the people of Balochistan have suffered under constant oppression and terror.
Currently, the Baloch people face an unending saga of humiliation, destruction and grief. Mass graves have been discovered across Balochistan; death squads kidnap social and political activists and human rights defenders, who are then murdered and thrown into these mass graves. Military oppression is the key tactic Pakistan has employed in order to sustain its unjust rule over the Baloch.
The people of Balochistan were never asked whether they wanted to be part of Pakistan. Despite the people’s peaceful requests for a referendum on the future status of Balochistan, the Pakistani government has denied their right to self-determination.
Pakistan pushes the narrative that the people of Balochistan are happy—that they want to be part of Pakistan. This narrative is baseless and demeaning to the actual lived experiences of the Baloch. Thus, the BHRC’s “Save the Baloch” initiative marks an effort to amplify the voices of the people of Balochistan and usher in the restoration of their most basic human rights—to social, cultural, political, and economic autonomy.
Defending the rights of the people of Balochistan is not an option—it is an obligation. In the words of one of the protestors “Freedom for Balochistan has been long-delayed, but it cannot and will not be denied.”
Due to these transgressions and the lack of UN counteraction, the UN has failed its own mandate to protect and fight for human rights across the globe. The protestors demand that the UN launch an immediate and thorough investigation into the Pakistani government’s actions in Balochistan and must commit to holding Pakistan accountable for its egregious human rights abuses against the people of Balochistan.