UNPO Submits Complaint to UN on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
On 31 January 2022, the UNPO submited a letter of complaint to United Nations experts on the human rights impact of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor on minorities and indigenous communities in Pakistan. In May 2022 Pakistan will be visited by the UN independent expert on foreign debt, other international financial obligations and human rights. This provides a tangible opportunity to shed light on the extent to which Pakistan has become indebted to China through its Belt and Road Initiative and the negative impact that this has on the realization of minority and indigenous rights in Pakistan.
The UNPO's intervention follows five years of research and community consultation on the issue of the Belt and Road Initiative. Our work has indicated that, through its Belt and Road Initiative abroad and its suppressive policies at home, China has become the latest colonial power to emerge on the world stage, with an agenda that is antithetical to the rights of minorities and indigenous communities. During this time, the UNPO has published three detailed reports:
- In Breaking the Silence: Gilgit-Baltistan and the Human Rights Cost of CPEC, the UNPO highlighted how loans from China to Pakistan seeks to create a link between China and the Indian Ocean via the so-called "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor", running through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir in contravention of UN Security Council Resolutions on the Jammu and Kashmir conflict;
- In A Tale of Three Ports: The Impact of the Belt and Road Initiative on Unrepresented Peoples in Pakistan and China, the UNPO highlighted the human rights violations being perpetrated against the Baloch people through the development of a port in Gwadar, Pakistan are inextricably tied to China's genocide against the Uyhurs and its efforts to shape the world in its repressive image;
- In Hmong in Isolation: Atrocities against the Hmong in Laos, the UNPO highlighted how mass atrocities and ethnic cleansing is also being carried out by other client states, in this case the government of Laos, in order to facilitate Chinese foreign debt and investment.
In August 2020, the UNPO General Assembly adopted a resolution recognizing the new colonialism of China and seeking protection for the victims of repression of China and its client states, such as Pakistan and Laos. And since that time, the UNPO has been holding a series of consultations wiith UNPO member peoples on the BRI and on foreign investment and the right to land, each of which has pointed to China's Belt and Road initiative representing a signficant threat to minorities and indigenous people worldwide. We are currently examining how dam building along the Mekong and Indus Rivers are leading to the destruction of the respective river deltas, with subsequent destruction of the livelihoods and cultures of the Khmer Krom and Sindh people who are indigenous to the Mekong Delta and Indus River Delta respectively.
Through our intervention to the UN independent expert on foreign debt, other international financial obligations and human rights, we are hoping to encourge UN experts to investigate and speak out against the global systemic problem.
Photo: Sindh Long March for Rehabilitation of the Indus River Delta, Wikimedia Commons