Long live free and united Balochistan

Long live free and united Balochistan

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DC: Activists Seek Human Rights for Baloch People

By R.E.A.L. Organization • on August 30, 2011

On August 30, 2011, human rights activists concerned about the state of issues in Balochistan attended a conference in remembrance of the International Day of the Disappeared at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
The event was organized by Balochistan rights activist Ahmar Mustikhan, who also writes for the Baltimore Foreign Policy Examiner. Mr. Mustikhan spoke about on the history of the oppression of Baloch people by the terrorists, religious extremists, members of the Pakistan military, and parts of the Pakistan government.   In 1948, Balochistan was made a province of Pakistan, representing about 40% of the land mass and 10% of the population.

Ahmar Mustikhan - August 30, 2011 - International Day of Disappearance - National Press Club

Mr. Mustikhan spoke in support of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and called for the end of forced and involuntary disappearances of Balochistan.  In his opening statement, he stated that Baloch activists have increasingly disappeared over the past years, were executed, and their bodies were thrown in the wilderness. He pointed to the photographs on the wall of three such victims Qayyum Baloch, Ilyas Nazar, and Qambar Chakar (image from conference – note graphic and troubling).  He also provided a report from the Gwank radio station Sweden on the abduction and murder of Qayyum Baloch. Mr. Mustikhan also had statements from Meehran Baluch, Balochistan representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council and from Hyrbyair Marri. He also provided a list and photographs of Baloch missing persons. Mr. Mustikhan represents American Friends of Balochistan. An audio link to one of Mr. Mustikhan’s description of abuses of Baloch activists is provided here. (Electronic copies are linked to his opening statement, the statement from Meehran Baluchstatement from Hyrbyair MarriGwank radio report, and International Day of Disappeared flier.)
Clothilde Le Coz, the Washington DC director of Reporters Without Borders, who expressed her organization’s concern about the growing number of reporters and journalists that been kidnapped in Pakistan, Iran, China, Sri Lanka, Eritrea, Mexico, and Middle East. Ms. Le Coz also spoke to the growing threats to reporters in Pakistan who seek to report on Pakistan government abuses or violence from religious extremists, stating that Pakistan is becoming the most dangerous place for journalists in the world.  Reporters Without Borders provided a statement on these victims around the world, called for the release of those that may still be held, and condemned the acts of execution of kidnapped reporters.

Clothilde Le Coz - August 30, 2011 - International Day of Disappearance - National Press Club

Dr. Nazir Bhatti, President of the Pakistan Christian Congress and leader of the Pakistan Christian Post, spoke on behalf of human rights for the Baloch people and on the continuing disappearances and abuses of Christians in Pakistan.   Dr. Bhatti called for remembrance of those who have suffered under such abuses, oppression, and murder, and asked us to remember the pain of those who have suffered in Pakistan.   He stated that there has been a continuing rise in missing person cases in Pakistan, that the armed forces have been rounding people up and putting them in detention, then bodies of the executed are being thrown out into the streets.  In Karachi during the last couple of weeks, he stated that bodies of the executed have been put into boxes, and the military have called to their families to pick such bodies up.  He stated that the targeted killings and missing persons are becoming an increasing problem in Pakistan, and that the international community is not concerned about minority rights in Pakistan.  Dr. Bhatti also spoke on the persecution of Christians in Pakistan, and he spoke of one leader who was killed and how handbills were put on his body that this is what would happen to those who spoke out against the blasphemy law.  He also spoke out the case of the Pakistan woman Asia Bibi, who has been convicted of “blasphemy,” and that the Lahore High Court is not hearing her appeal.   He also spoke out on other oppression, violence, and murder of Christians because of their religion. He urged human  rights activists to continue to work towards the human rights of minorities in Pakistan.  He stated that it is “immoral, illegal, and inhuman” to keep a person in custody without charges beyond the period required by law to bring them before a magistrate, and then find that this person has been executed.  An audio link to Dr. Bhatti’s remarks is provided here.

Dr. Nazir Bhatti - August 30, 2011 - International Day of Disappearance - National Press Club

Jay Kansara with the Hindu American Foundation spoke of the oppression of Hindus within Pakistan, and described how continuing oppression, violence, and murder of Hindus had led to their numbers dwindling within Pakistan. Mr. Kansara also stated that elected officials and representatives within the police were were either ignoring such violence against Hindus, or actively tolerating it. He provided a booklet on the 2010 survey of human rights for Hindus in South Asia and the diaspora.

Mr. Andrew Eiva, a well known activist on human rights for Sudan and Eastern Europe, also came to speak on behalf of human rights for the Baloch people and the Sudanese people.
Ashraf Ramelah, with the Voice of the Copts, spoke on behalf of his shared concern for the human rights abuses against the Baloch people and he also spoke on the similar abuses of the Christian Copts in Egypt. Mr. Ramelah remarked that the photographs of the murdered Balochs reminded him of the violence against the Coptic people, including the terrorist murders outside of Coptic churches in early January 2011. Mr. Ramelah spoke on the need to reject extremist views that continue to oppress the Copts in Egypt, including those who believe they have the right to rape and abuse Coptic women.

Jeffrey Imm, with Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.), condemned the efforts to dehumanize the Baloch people by those who seek violence and oppression of them. He pointed to a report from February 2011 that discussed a petition by President of the Balochistan High Court Bar Association Had Shakeel which stated there have been more than “5,000 cases of ‘forced disappearances’ in Balochistan.” Mr. Imm urged the public to consider the human horror and tragedy of these abuses, and he urged the public not to let their hearts and souls become numb to such abuses. He also called for a new dialogue of mercy and compassion for one another, stating that “even the hardest heart beats in the body of another human being.” He urged the government and people of Pakistan to listen to their hearts and their conscience on the oppression of the Baloch people and work to end such human rights violations. (Link to Jeffrey Imm prepared remarks; audio link to Jeffrey Imm remarks at conference

Ashraf Ramelah - August 30, 2011 - International Day of Disappearance - National Press Club
Other attendees included other human rights activists and journalists.  This included Syed Abdul Rahim (BBC), and Esther Ejim, Executive Director, Naija Worldwide Charities, among others.
On the International Day of the Disappeared, Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) urges the public of all kinds not to let compassion and mercy disappear from their hearts.
We urge all to Choose Love, Not Hate. Love Wins.

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