West must stop aiding Pakistan’s war crimes in Balochistan

Send UN fact-finding mission to Balochistan & appoint UN Special Rapporteur

Prosecute Pakistani military & intelligence chiefs on war crime charges

UN supervised military ceasefire & referendum on self-determination


UN – Geneva – 19 September 2016

Speaking at the United Nations in Geneva today, British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell condemned “Pakistan’s intensified repression in annexed and occupied Balochistan” and outlined an eight-point action plan to halt Pakistan’s human rights abuses against the Baloch ethnic minority.

“These abuses include thousands of indiscriminate military bombardments, kidnappings and forced disappearances – plus detention with trial, torture, assassination and extra-judicial killings by Pakistan’s military and intelligence services,” said Mr Tatchell.

He urged international action, including “a halt to western arms sales to Pakistan, the appointment of a UN special rapporteur on Balochistan, the sending of a UN fact-finding mission and the opening of Balochistan to aid agencies, journalists and human rights defenders.”

He also called for “the prosecution of Pakistani military and intelligence chiefs on war crimes charges and a UN supervised military ceasefire and referendum on self-determination.”

Mr Tatchell was addressing a side event held in parallel with the 33rd session of the UN Human Rights Council: “Never to be seen again: Enforced disappearances & Pakistan’s bloody campaign to impose CPEC in Balochistan.”

The meeting was organised and hosted by the international human rights ngo, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO).

He spoke alongside Sabah Bandoui of the Balochistan Human Rights Group, who addressed the persecution of Baloch people in Iran.

Mr Tatchell’s set out an eight-point action plan:

1. “A halt to western arms sales to Pakistan, which are being diverted from the intended fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban to repress the Baloch population. The weapons include US-supplied F-16 fighter jets and Cobra attack helicopters. They have been used to bomb Baloch villages, destroying crops and killing civilians and livestock. US arms deals with Pakistan violate the Leahy amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act. It prohibits Washington from providing weapons to foreign armed forces that contravene human rights.
2. “The UN should appoint a Special Rapporteur on Balochistan, to monitor and report to the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council on human rights abuses and ethnic discrimination.
3. “A UN fact-finding mission is urgently needed to independently assess the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Balochistan.
4. “Pakistan should be pressed to lift entry restrictions and permit free access to Balochistan to aid agencies, journalists and human rights defenders, in order to ensure the delivery of aid to the impoverished population, enable free media reporting and allow the documentation of the effects of military occupation.
5. “Military and intelligence chiefs in Pakistan should be prosecuted on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity under international humanitarian law, including via the International Criminal Court or via a UN Special Tribunal. In particular, prosecutions should be initiated against the former military dictator, Pervez Musharraf, and the ex-head of the XII Corps, Lt General Nasser Janjua. In the interim, international arrest warrants should be issued for all Pakistani military leaders who have been involved in, or colluded with, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Balochistan.
6. “The bringing of civil claims in the US courts by Baloch victims of human rights violations by Pakistani state officials, using the Alien Tort Claims Act.
7. “Make western aid to Pakistan conditional on the ending of human rights violations. Until Islamabad complies, all aid should be withdrawn from the Pakistan government and switched to local and international aid agencies that conform to international human rights norms.
8. “A boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign targeting Pakistani government, military and intelligence officials implicated in human rights crimes in Balochistan,” said Mr Tatchell.

At the UN meeting in Geneva today, Mr Tatchell also outlined a “road map for self-determination” in Balochistan to deescalate the military conflict and secure a negotiated political settlement:

1. Ceasefire and the cessation of all military operations, withdrawal of Pakistani troops and paramilitaries to barracks and a halt to the construction of new military bases and outposts – with independent monitoring and supervision by UN observers and peace keepers.
2. Release of all political prisoners and a full account of the fate of all disappeared persons.
3. Open access to all parts of Balochistan for journalists, aid agencies and human rights organisations.
4. Right of return of displaced refugees, restoration of their property and compensation for losses caused by the conflict.
5. End inward colonisation of Balochistan by non-Baloch settlers.
6. UN-supervised referendum on self-determination, including the option of independence.

“David can defeat Goliath, as the US learned to its cost in Vietnam. Like all people everywhere, the people of Balochistan have a right to self-determination. Self-determination is enshrined in the UN Charter. Pakistan can delay Balochistan’s right to self-determination – at great financial, moral, political and reputational cost – but the freedom of Balochistan cannot, and will not, be denied,” said Mr Tatchell.

Pakistan’s grave human rights abuses in Balochistan have been independently corroborated by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Asian Human Rights Commission.

Watch Peter Tatchell’s speech on Balochistan at a previous UNPO meeting at the Royal Society in London: http://bit.ly/15ruxZc