March 16, 2017
On the occasion of the 34th Regular Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) in cooperation with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) will be organizing a side-event entitled “In the Shadow of the Silk Road: Economic Exploitation and Human Rights Violations in Balochistan”.
Mr T Kumar, Amnesty International
Mr Rashed Rahman, Former Editor of The Daily Times Pakistan
Mr Lawrence Lifschultz, Far Eastern Review
While Pakistan and China consolidate their economic and political ties with the US$46 billion mega project known as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), thousands of people are voicing their discontent as they face displacement and dispossession of their homelands. Balochistan, a region that spans across parts of Iran, Afghanistan and is currently Pakistan’s largest, most research-rich yet most undeveloped region, is home to the deep water port of Gwadar – the key strategic interest behind the construction of road and rail infrastructure that will connect China’s Xinjiang – home to the oppressed Uyghurs – to the Arabian Sea. Despite Balochistan’s crucial geopolitical location in the plans for the inception of CPEC, none of the millions of people whose livelihood will be severely disrupted by this project have been consulted or involved in the decision-making process.
Pakistan’s campaign to implement CPEC has been ruthless, with local inhabitants forcefully cleared and any voice of dissent silenced. Paramilitary and state agencies have for years systematically violated human rights, among which numerous cases of enforced disappearances, abductions and extrajudicial killings. Alongside the Pakistani authorities crushing anything interpreted as dissent, locals are increasingly concerned about the massive influx of Chinese military in the region, initially announced as for the protection of the Chinese personnel on the ground. Furthermore, despite authorities advertising CPEC as a project that will benefit the local population significantly, the project is in fact under complete control of the authorities in Beijing and Islamabad, without any local governance.
At a time when independent media and international civil society organisations are repeatedly being denied access to the region, the side-event will contribute to filling the existing information black hole on human rights violations in Balochistan and to draw international attention to these heinous crimes. Building on a series of events organised by UNPO at the Human Rights Council on the plight of Balochistan, academic experts and renowned human rights advocates will discuss the challenges and interests at stake, looking at how the international community can support the Baloch people to end atrocities commitment against them.
The conference programme wil be available soon. For further information, please contact Nicoletta Enria (firstname.lastname@example.org)