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EU MPs & Canadian foreign minister express solidarity with Baloch nationalists

BRUSSELS: Legislators from many countries gathered at the European Parliament, Belgium, to discuss the situation in Balochistan and to express their solidarity with the democratic forces. The event ‘Baluchistan: Destiny Denied’ was hosted by the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Parliament and Balochistan House.

Paulo Casaca, executive director of South Asia Democratic Forum, highlighted the ongoing insurgency in the province and the Pakistani government’s response to it.

Ryzsard Czarnecki, an MEP from Poland, spoke about Balochistan’s potential riches from its natural resources and lamented the fact that Balochistan remains one of the poorest and least developed regions, with alarmingly high rates of infant mortality and illiteracy.

Canadian MP Russ Hiebert, British MP Andrew Percy, Baloch special envoy to the EU Mehran Marri and commentator Tarek Fatah condemned the alleged ongoing operation in the province and a systematic campaign to “crush Baloch identity”.

Mehran Marri, special representative of Balochistan to the EU, denounced the alleged army operation. “The situation in Balochistan can only be defined as genocide and the silence regarding this issue is deafening. We call on all the democratic forces of the world to support Balochistan’s nationalist movement and show solidarity with those who defend human rights.”

The event comes just days after the European Parliament delivered a rebuke to Pakistan in a resolution denouncing the recent murder of Christians by the Taliban in Peshawar.

Ryszard Czarnecki, speaking about the recent earthquake, said that the Pakistani position regarding the NGOs not being allowed to go to Balochistan to provide assistance is definitely a problem motivated by the broader situation in Balochistan.

Russ Hiebert, a Canadian parliamentarian, focused on the role that the international community could play to bring about positive change in Balochistan. He said: “The solution lies in justice for the people, and the international community must play a role in this. Justice must be restored otherwise there will be no end in sight to violence.”

Andrew Percy MP said the issue of education is very important to the United Kingdom as one of the biggest providers of foreign aid to Pakistan, especially for education. “There have been discussions in the United Kingdom about how much has been spent but not how that amount has been spent, which is the most important issue.

Education is an important tool to fight extremism, sectarianism and any sort of promotion of hate.

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BYGWAAH, July 13, 2013: Canadian foreign affair’s minister expresses concerns over Human Rights Violations in Balochistan

In response to a letter of the coordinator of International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons the Canadian foreign minister said that, “The promotion and protection of human rights is an integral part of Canada’s foreign policy and I have noted with concern the reports of forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Pakistan’s Balochistan province.”

Mr John Baird further said, “The Government of Canada strongly condemns acts of persecution on the basis of ethnicity or religion and shares international concerns about the treatment of Pakistani minorities, including the Baloch. Canada takes every appropriate opportunity to express its views to the Government of Pakistan regarding its international human rights obligations and the need to ensure the safety and well-being of all its citizens, regardless of ethnicity or religion.

“In your correspondence, you note attacks against Baloch activists, journalists and other members of civil society. At the United Nations Universal Periodic Review of Pakistan in October 2012, Canada recommended that Pakistan take strong and appropriate measures to bring to justice the perpetrators of such unacceptable attacks against activists and human rights defenders.

“Canada recognizes the struggle of those who are fighting for human rights, not just in Pakistan and Iran, but around the world. On March 14, 2012, I had the honour of awarding the John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Award to the late Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s former federal Minister for Minorities. Braving multiple threats to his safety, Mr. Bhatti worked tirelessly to advance the rights of Pakistan’s religious minorities. Through this award, Canada honoured the memory of Mr. Bhatti, whose determined efforts in the struggle for equality, justice and freedom cost him his life.

“The Government of Canada will continue to monitor the human rights situation in Pakistan and urge Pakistani authorities to respect their international human rights obligations.”

The Canada coordinator of International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, Mr Aziz Baloch, in his letter to the Minister for Forging Affair’s had complained that Pakistan and Iran were violating Universal Declaration of Human Rights Act No. 3 which says, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.” He further wrote, “Sadly, the entire Western world, especially Canada has chosen to remain silent on the atrocities committed against the Baloch people by the two autocratic regimes, members of the United Nations.”

The coordinator of IVBM while explaining the human rights situation in Balochistan state that according to the Balochistan-based Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, more than 14,000 Baloch youth, students, activists, journalists, lawyers, doctors, teachers, and women have been illegally abducted by the Pakistani security forces in Balochistan and over 600 bullet–riddled bodies of the enforced-disappeared Baloch were discovered in deserted areas. They were murdered while in custody of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies. On the other hand, the Iranian regime is engaged in a systematic cultural genocide of the Baloch people. Recently, on February 16, 2013 Iranian regime executed four Baloch and on January 30, 2013 six more were executed in the city of Kerman.

He also mentioned that when in September 2012 the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance visited Pakistan and Balochistan, they wanted to meet the Chief Justice of Pakistan Supreme Court but the CJ refused to visit the team saying that the matter of missing persons was a matter of court and is being dealt with. Despite accepting the fact that FC and military intelligence’s was proven to court with the help of CCT footage and statement of the Police officer but the Supreme Court failed to even suspend a single perpetrator.

He had ended his letter with following demands:

As the voice of our people, we call upon our Honorable Canadian Members of Parliament.

*Help us through diplomatic means to end the gross human rights violations against the Baloch civilians in Pakistan and Iran.
*Support human rights in the Iranian and Pakistani occupied Balochistan.
*Support the Baloch voice for an end to nuclear tests and dismantling Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program before it loses state control to the extremist hands.
*Accelerate the process of stopping Iran becoming a nuclear weapon state.