Feb 20, 2007

West Balochistan: Issues Letter of Condemnation

In a letter addressed to the UN, the Balochistan United Front of Iran (BUF) condemns the violent and discriminatory actions of the Iranian government.

Below is a letter issued on 18 February 2007 by the Balochistan United Front of Iran addressed to Mr. Peter Burian, President of the UN Security Council, all members of the UN Security Council and Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General, condemning the policies and behavior of Iranian authorities towards the Baloch community in Iran:

“Dear Mr. President

First of all let us clarify from the onset that Balochistan United Front of Iran, as a political organisation rejects all forms of violence. We neither subscribe nor condone violence. Indeed the raison d'être for the formation of Balochistan United Front of Iran is to echo the voice of peaceful but oppressed Baloch people who are themselves victims of the State violence.

We understand the fact that United Nations is a body formed by the representatives of governments. Many of these governments do democratically represent their nations, and therefore are entitled to be an equal member of the United Nations. However, governments like the Islamic Republic of Iran do not represent their respective nations. Nonetheless, they use their status as a member to distort the truth and demands what they want.

Since the Advent of Islamic Republic in Iran, the Baloch people in the south-eastern province of Sistan and Balochistan have been oppressed through security, military, political, economic and cultural means. Contrary to the international law, the whole border area of Iran and Pakistan has been mined. Hundreds of innocent people have been killed by these mines. Unlawful, and inhumane discrimination and prejudice against the ethnic Baloch people are rampant in every aspect of life such as housing, education, health, employment and so forth. The province is the most deprived province in Iran. Although the share of the province population is about 3.5% of the total Iranian population, the allocated annual budget to the province is just over one thousandth (1/1000) of the total national budgets. Disease, hunger, illiteracy, poverty and inequality are widespread in the Province. Religious discrimination against Baloch people is an unpalatable fact of life. The Baloch are Sunni while the regime promotes fanatic Shiism.

The Iranian Intelligent and security forces crush even minimal protest and civilised objection to the status quo in Balochistan mercilessly. You must realise that what goes in Tehran and reflected in the Media is different from that in Balochistan where the Authorities tolerate no dissent, and has total control over all means of communication. The Iranian government has dispatched tens of thousands of troops to the province. According to the Iranian official news agencies, more than 65 Baloch people have been hanged on various charges during the last five months. According to independent sources the actual number is close to 100 hanged. Many of these victims were innocent or political dissidents.

Islamic Republic of Iran’s use of brute violence in dealing with opponents in Balochistan has created an environment where violence, murder, hanging, killings and use of savage force have become the norm. No body in Balochistan can advocate violence simply because the Baloch people are the prime victim of violence. Unfortunately, it is against the background of state-sponsored violence that some Baloch have resorted to violence.

As a fundamental point of principle we do subscribe to the notion that no cause can justify the use of terrorist violence. However, condemning unilaterally only one side of the violence without any reference to the perpetual violence committed by the government forces is neither equitable nor it serves any constructive purpose, but to the appeasement of a regime that has been condemned time after time by the United Nations Human Rights Committee and other relevant UN bodies and international human rights organisations.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has closed all civil and peaceful avenues for dialogue, complaint or dissent in Balochistan. It is therefore responsible for creating an environment where armed conflict, violence and murder are perpetuated by further violence, killings and savagery. The question is: who created and strives to maintain this venomous and vicious cycle of violence and death in Balochistan? In your statement, sadly there is no reference to the violence being committed by the government’s security forces. It does not mention hanging of scores of opponents, not does it refer to the suffering of Baloch people. This is a selective and one-sided statement that fails to condemn terrorism in its all forms and shapes. This is a sad statement which in effect says violence and terrorism is condemned provided the perpetrators are not associated or part of an apparatus which belong to one of our member state.

The Security Council should not be selective in its approach towards condemning terrorism and violence. We will be privileged to hear from you as to why the Security Council has failed to be thorough and imposing in its stance on terrorism with regards to SC/8957?

Could you please be kind enough to distribute our letter to all 15 members of the Council?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely
Dr A. Doshoki

On behalf of
Balochistan United Front of Iran