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U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher Demands Referendum in Balochistan on the Question of Independence

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) convened an international conference at The Royal Society, London on Sunday 24 February 2013 entitled ‘Global and Regional Security Challenges in South Asia: What Future for Balochistan?’.

PRESS RELEASE

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Global and Regional Security Challenges in South Asia: What Future for Balochistan?

***Watch videos of declaration and all speeches at UNPO's YouTube channel***

U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher Demands Referendum in Balochistan on the Question of Independence

Brussels, 25 February 2013 – In an effort to shed light on the key role Balochistan plays in South Asia, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO)convened a conference entitled “Global and Regional Security Challenges in South Asia: What Future for Balochistan”, which took place at The Royal Society, London on 24 February 2013. Key speaker at this conference, U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, gave a poignant speech urging for the freedom of the Baloch people. The Congressman requested a referendum to be held in Balochistan on the question of independence, which would challenge the claims by Islamabad that the Baloch want to be part of Pakistan. Dana Rohrabacher called for Pakistani officials to be tried for war crimes. Congressman Brian Higgins (D-NY) was also present.

The conference was opened by Marino Busdachin, General Secretary of UNPO, and Paulo Casaca, former MEP and Director of the South Asia Democratic Forum, who denounced above all the Pakistani government’s use of a ferocious ‘kill and dump’ policy in Balochistan. The first panel, chaired by Noordin Mengal, discussed Balochistan’s role in the world power game. Athar Hussain, Director of the Asia Research Centre at LSE, Dr. Naseer Dashti, Baloch writer, and Mohammad Ali Talpur, columnist at the Daily Times, addressed issues such as Pakistan’s inability as a state to protect its citizen and the brutality with which it has addressed tensions with Balochistan. The second panel brought together Burzine Waghmar from the Centre for the Study of Pakistan at SOAS, journalist Anna Reitman, Nasser Boladai, President of the Baluchistan People’s Party, and Hammal Haider Baloch, spokesperson of the Baloch National Movement. This panel addressed the talibanization of Balochistan, the rise of islamic radicalism in South Asia, security in Iranian Balochistan, the key role energy and mining resources play in Balochistan, and the influence of Iran, Pakistan, India and China in the region.

The third panel concentrated on Balochistan’s future and the different ways forward, a subject strongly backed by U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. The Congressman stated that Pakistan is not a friend of the United States and of those who believe in peace, prosperity and freedom for the people of the world. His Royal Highness, the Khan of Kalat, Mir Suleman Daud called for a united Baloch front in the struggle against the horrors imposed on the Baloch people by Islamabad. Tarek Fatah gave a vigorous speech, pointing at the curse of colonialism and the lack of international support to Balochistan, while Pakistan keeps on betraying its international allies. Prof Joshua Castellino of Middlesex University, spoke about the right to self determination of peoples, and Abubakar Siddique of RFE/RL, addressed issues of enforced disappearances and human rights in Balochistan.

The conference was concluded by Peter Tatchell, political activist and spokesperson for human rights of the Green Party (U.K.), who outlined his proposals for a way forward for Balochistan, stressing on the importance of forming a united Baloch front capable of convincing the international community. Noordin Mengal concluded the conference by stating that a sovereign state of Balochistan would not only benefit the Baloch people, but the entire region. This day-long conference produced the “Conference Declaration on the Restoration of the Rights of the Baloch People in light of Regional and Global Security”.

Conference Declaration on the Restoration of the Rights of the Baloch People in light of Regional and Global Security

In the face of grave situation facing the Baloch people in Pakistan, this conference discussed the issue of the self-determination for the Baloch within the context of regional and global peace and security. The conference affirms and asserts the following:

1. that it is of fundamental importance to ensure that the right of self-determination of all peoples is implemented equally and universally; that the right of self-determination of all peoples is an inherent and universal human right; as enshrined in international law, including in the Charter of the United Nations, the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

2. that the restoration of the rights of the Baloch people is fundamental including their culture, values, languages, religions, economy, political and legal institutions, traditional knowledge system, way of life, land and resources;

3. that the Baloch have their inalienable right to self-determination which implies that they have the right to restore their own state and determine its relations to other political communities, including States and international organizations;

4. that a just implementation of the right of self-determination is a core means to prevent and resolve conflicts and to achieve regional and global peace and security; and urge the international community to work towards a genuine dialogue concerning the resolution of Baloch-Pakistan conflict and the implementation of the Baloch right of self-determination;

5. that it strongly urges the government of Pakistan to refrain from the use of oppressive measures leading to human rights violations against the Baloch, and further demands that the perpetrators of human rights violations within the Military, paramilitary and police units of the state should be brought to justice.

For media queries please contact:

Maud Vanwalleghem | +32 251 314 59 | mv@unpo.org

Background information

* Conference Declaratin

* Conference Programme

* Speaker Biographies

* 'Save the date' press release

* 'Press Reminder' press release

* Conference Pictures

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