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UK Houses of Parliament emblazoned with projection raising human rights issue in Balochistan ahead of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.

UK Houses of Parliament emblazoned with projection raising human rights issue in Balochistan ahead of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.

Last night 17 March, the World Baloch Organisation (WBO) organised a projection over the UK Houses of Parliament that read “Commonwealth Nations must question Pakistan over enforced disappearances in Balochistan” and “Pakistan must answer for crimes against humanity”

The WBO’s latest initiative comes as the city hosts the biennial summit – the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The summit brings together heads of governments, ministers and global business leaders from 53 nations to discuss and promote prosperity, democracy and peace. The projection aims to catch the attention of Commonwealth leaders and urge them to contribute in ending the widespread abuse of human rights in Balochistan.

A representative of the organisation, Bhawal Mengal said “ The human rights situation in Balochistan is worsening. Enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and extrajudicial killings of Baloch men, women and children are a recurrent experience. Systematic oppression committed on behalf of the Pakistani state has been prevalent for decades.”

The WBO believes that the projection will serve as a key message and reminder to World leaders of their responsibility to speak out against Pakistan’s crimes against humanity in  Balochistan. This is of vital importance in improving the economic and socio-political situation and ending human rights violations within Balochistan. The projection also aims to raise awareness amongst Londeners on the dire situation that desperately calls for international attention and support.
 
The new initiative comes after successful campaigns in London, New York and Manchester, and Geneva where the campaigns attracted mediatic attention and triggered the interest of public opinion. The campaigns were successful in spite of having faced strong opposition from the Pakistani government – in London, Pakistan’s request to ban WBO’s adverts was ruled out by the Council of the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), proving the peaceful character of the WBO’s initiatives.
 

Posted by WBO Media Team
Joint WBO & UNPO Press Release: Side-event to the UNHRC Explores the Implications of CPEC for the People of Balochistan

Joint WBO & UNPO Press Release: Side-event to the UNHRC Explores the Implications of CPEC for the People of Balochistan

On Tuesday [13 March 2018], the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT), the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) and the World Baloch Organisation (WBO) co-organised the conference “A Legacy of Injustice: CPEC and its impact on Balochistan” at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva. The side-event to the 37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council focused on the brutal consequences of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that are inflicted upon the local indigenous peoples of Balochistan, and allowed a discussion on recent occurrences regarding the struggle of the Baloch people for their rights.

The conference was opened by Ms Natalia Carrusca, representative of the WBO and moderator of the event, who introduced a video presentation in which WBO spokesman, Mr Bhawal Mengal, gave a succinct overview of the dire situation of the Baloch people, mentioning the recurrence of human rights abuses such as extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. Mr Mengal also addressed the crackdown on freedom of expression in Balochistan, which results in the marginalisation of the issue in the media and makes it essential to raise awareness among the international civil society and in in international organisations such as the United Nations.

Opening remarks were then given by Mr Fernando Burgés, UNPO Programme Manager, who spoke about the political and security contexto surrounding the implementation of CPEC in Balochistan. Mr Burgés highlighted the growing militarisation put in motion to ensure the safety of Chinese workers and construction sites, repressing against any opposition to the project and bringing more tension to the already unstable region. Moreover, he highlighted the change of demographics conjectured to take place in around Gwadar, which could result in even more political, social and economic marginalisation for the Baloch people.

 

 

The first speaker, Mr Burzine Waghmar (University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies), drew attention to Beijing’s relentlessness in pursuing its interests abroad and the power that it has consolidated over the West, both reflected in the way it implements CPEC over the heads of local populations in Pakistan. Mr Waghmar brought up the concerning fact that Islamabad has agreed to round-the-clock video surveillance being established by the Chinese and reported the shocking increase in land prices in Gwadar. He denounced the free hand enjoyed by Pakistan in wiping out entire villages in Balochistan, where locating cadavers of missing relatives has become a recurrent practice for many families.

 

 

Ms Mahvish Ahmad (University of Cambridge) started the presentation with testimonials from her field work and affirmed that, in spite of the overwhelming atrocities comited against the local population, the region remains a “secret”. She reminded the audience of the historical background of Balochistan, used by Britain as a buffer zone for a long time, and stressed that the past two decades have seen a surge of state violence in Pakistan. Ms Ahmad pointed up that there has been a growing lack of trust among the Baloch themselves: fear of talking to each other, of sharing facts and suffering retaliations. Overcoming suspicion and standing together is, therefore, essential to the Baloch struggle.

Unfortunately, Mr Michael Kugelman (Woodrow Wilson Center) could not take part in the event as planned.

The event concluded with questions and answers.

 

Posted by WBO Media Team
WBO Annual Report of Activities

WBO Annual Report of Activities

The World Baloch Organisation (WBO) has published its annual report of activities, covering the period of March 2017 – February 2018. The report presents a succinct overview of the conferences, seminars, protests and campaigns organised by WBO or in which it participated throughout the past year.

Click here to read and download the report.

 

Posted by WBO Media Team
The WBO Launches Human Rights Advertising Campaign in Geneva

The WBO Launches Human Rights Advertising Campaign in Geneva

On 27 February 2018, the World Baloch Organisation (WBO) launched a new human rights advertising campaign, this time in Geneva, Switzerland. The new campaign kicks off as the city hosts the 37th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council at the Palais des Nations, an event that brings hundreds of state and NGO representatives to the city and takes place from the 26 February to 23 March 2018. The initiative provides continuity to the recent campaigns in the United Kingdom and the United States.

The WBO’s new initiative will last for one entire month, displaying adverts with the slogan “Raise your voice – help end human rights abuses in Balochistan” on buses and trams that circulate around Geneva. The human rights situation in Balochistan is increasingly worrying, with recurrent cases of enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and extrajudicial killings of Baloch individuals. The Baloch have faced systematic economic deprivation and social and political exclusion since the occupation by Pakistan started in 1948.

The WBO believes that the adverts will serve as an invitation for the local population to find out more about the situation in Balochistan and, at the same time, as a reminder to state leaders of their responsibility to speak out against Pakistan’s cruel acts against ethnic minorities. The Human Rights Council – an intergovernmental body of the United Nations, composed of 47 countries and responsible for promoting and protecting human rights globally – holds three regular sessions per year in Geneva, when states, NGOs and national human rights institutions come together for discussions. The 37th session, taking place at this moment, is the first of 2018.

The new campaign in Geneva comes after three successful initiatives in London, New York and Manchester, where the “#FreeBalochistan campaign” attracted mediatic attention and triggered the interest of public opinion, receiving positive feedback from locals and from the Baloch diaspora in each city. The campaigns were successful in spite of having faced strong opposition from the Pakistani government – in London, Pakistan’s request for the ban of “#FreeBalochistan” was ruled out by the Council of the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), proving the peaceful character of the WBO’s initiatives.

 

Posted by WBO Media Team
#FreeBalochistan human rights campaign kicks off in Manchester, UK.

#FreeBalochistan human rights campaign kicks off in Manchester, UK.

 
The World Baloch Organisation today has launched its #FreeBalochistan human rights campaign on black cabs in Manchester UK. UK’s iconic black cabs are out once again carrying slogans “Free Balochistan from human rights abuses” in attempt to highlight the worsening human rights situation in Balochistan, where the Pakistani military has been involved in gross human rights violations including enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings and torture.
 
 
 
This comes 2 months after the government of Pakistan demanded that the British government and Transport for London remove “#FreeBalochistan ” “Stop enforced disappearances” adverts from London taxis. In response to Pakistan government requests, Transport for London within 24 hours had ordered the adverts to be pulled from taxis on the grounds that they violated its advertising policy but it had not said which specific rule had been violated. The WBO maintained that it had not violated any policy and vowed to challenge the decision. Later however the Advertising Standards Authority ruled against Pakistan’s demand and stated that the ads did not violate their policies.
 
 
 
The WBO has also been running an advertising campaign in New York City where several billboards at the iconic Times Square displayed similar slogans during the New Years Eve celebrations, the billboards gained the attention of the international media and the millions watching the event from around the world.
Posted by WBO Media Team
#Free Balochistan billboards go up on Times Square, New York City

#Free Balochistan billboards go up on Times Square, New York City

As part of its ongoing #FreeBalochistan awareness campaign in New York City, the World Baloch Organisation (WBO) has launched billboards across the iconic Times Square, highlighting Pakistan’s human rights abuses in Balochistan.

Over half a dozen billboards carrying the slogan “#FreeBalochistan from human rights abuses by Pakistan” have gone up in the heart of Times Square in New York and will remain there as the city celebrates New Years Eve – an iconic event witnessed by millions across America and the world. The billboards highlight Pakistan’s kidnappings, torture and massacres in occupied Balochistan and the Baloch peoples right to self determination

“Our aim is to reach out to the American public and make them aware of the worsening situation in Balochistan, which has long been ignored by the international community mainly due to Pakistan’s desperate efforts to stop the truth from reaching the international community. Through media reportage of the Times Square New Years Eve celebrations, we hope to get our human rights message across to the American people and the rest of the civilized world,” said the chief organiser of the WBO, Mir Javed Mengal.

“We appeal to the people of the world to raise their voice against the injustices against the Baloch people who continue to strive for their basic rights and self-determination. We also appeal to the United States and UN to take notice of the crimes against humanity being committed by Pakistan and hold it accountable for violating international laws and covenants” added Mir Javed Mengal

Pakistan has not allowed the international press, human rights monitors and aid agencies to enter Balochistan. The adverts seek to raise awareness about the plight of the secular Baloch people who have suffered gross human rights abuses by the Pakistani authorities for several decades.

The billboard adverts are an addition to the ongoing human rights campaign in the city, which kicked-off with more than 100 taxis carrying similar slogans.

The awareness campaign in New York City comes after a successful month of implementing the campaign in London, UK.

WBO launches #FreeBalochistan human rights campaign in New York City

Posted by WBO Media Team
WBO adds mobile advertising to its ongoing campaign in New York City

WBO adds mobile advertising to its ongoing campaign in New York City

The WBO ran a mobile advertising campaign in New York City adding to its ongoing Taxi campaign in the city.

Mobile billboards carrying slogans “#FreeBalochistan from human rights abuses” and ” Raise your voice against human rights abuses in #Balochistan by Pakistan Army” circled prominent locations in the City including the consulates of Pakistan and China.

The ads also read ” No to CPEC, the China-Pakistan project that aims to loot and plunder Balochistan”

The campaign’s goal is to raise awareness among the American public about the ethnic persecution and gross human rights violations in Pakistan-occupied Balochistan and support the Baloch people’s quest for peace and freedom

The WBO earlier in the week launched its New York campaign with 100 taxis carrying similar slogans.  The New York campaign will run for a month during which the WBO will continue to apply different methods of campaigning to highlight the dire situation in Balochistan.

Watch the latest video of our mobile awareness campaign in NYC:  

 

 

Posted by WBO Media Team
WBO launches #FreeBalochistan human rights campaign in New York City

WBO launches #FreeBalochistan human rights campaign in New York City

Free Balochistan campaign launches in New York City
Human rights adverts on taxis by World Baloch Organisation

New York City – 20 December 2017

The World Baloch Organisation (WBO) today launched its #FreeBalochistan human rights awareness campaign in New York City, after a successful month of implementing the campaign in London, UK.

The New York campaign has kicked-off with more than 100 taxis carrying adverts with the slogan: “#Free Balochistan from human rights abuses by Pakistan”.

“Balochistan was annexed by Pakistan against the people’s will in 1948 and has been under military occupation ever since, with mass kidnappings, torture and executions by the Pakistan army. Pakistan wants to keep this hidden. We are doing this campaign to expose these abuses,” said Bhawal Mengal, spokesperson for the World Baloch Organisation (WBO), which has organised the advertisements.

“Thousands of Baloch people have been murdered or disappeared by Pakistani security forces. The killings are happening right now, the American weapons that were given to Pakistan to use against the Taliban are being diverted and misused to attack the secular Baloch people, including F-16 fighter jets and Cobra attack helicopters.

“The campaign’s goal is to raise awareness among the American public about the ethnic persecution and gross human rights violations in Pakistan-occupied Balochistan and support the Baloch people’s quest for peace and freedom. We want the US to cut off all military aid to Pakistan and hold it accountable for its crimes in Balochistan,” he said.

In London, the campaign received positive feedback from the public, including from the Baloch diaspora in the United Kingdom. Despite repeated attempts by the Pakistani government to shut down the #FreeBalochistan advertising campaign in London, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled against Pakistan’s bid to censor the adverts; acknowledging their legitimate, humanitarian and peaceful character.

“Balochistan comprises half the land mass of the current borders of Pakistan. It has fabulous oil, gas and mineral wealth which is being exploited by Pakistan, while the Baloch people live in abject poverty. To keep control, the government in Islamabad is resorting to terror tactics and is giving free rein to religious extremists operate in the region. It is using them as a proxy third force against the nationalist movement, which has a long tradition of democracy and secularism,” added Bhawal Mengal.

“Pakistan’s iron-fisted rule in Balochistan is so brutal that it will not allow journalists, human rights monitors and aid agencies to enter the region. These adverts are much needed to defend the human rights of the Baloch people and to expose the atrocities of the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies.

“We want to alert  US public, media and politicians to Pakistan’s secret, dirty war in Balochistan. This war of terror involves the indiscriminate aerial bombardment of Baloch villages, and the kidnapping, torture and assassination by the Pakistan army and intelligence agencies of anyone who peacefully opposes the military occupation and human rights abuses by Islamabad.

“Balochistan was previously a British protectorate that was granted independence in 1947. It was forcefully annexed by Pakistan in 1948 and has been militarily occupied ever since. The people of Balochistan have been denied the right to self-determination, contrary to the UN Charter.

“The World Baloch Organisation is a peaceful, lawful lobby against Pakistan’s war crimes and human rights abuses in Balochistan,” said Mr Mengal.

 

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Posted by WBO Media Team
UK Advertising Authority rules against Pakistan’s attempt to shut down the #Freebalochistan Campaign

UK Advertising Authority rules against Pakistan’s attempt to shut down the #Freebalochistan Campaign

The World Baloch Organisation has recently received an e-mail from the British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), regarding the complaint made by The High Commission of Pakistan about the #FreeBalochisan human rights awareness campaign in London. The High Commission of Pakistan, according to the e-mail, claimed that the campaign was offensive to the Pakistani diaspora and an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

 

The ASA Council, however, stood by freedom of expression and affirmed that the #FreeBalochistan campaign is in no breach of the UK Advertising Code. The Council acknowledged that the campaign’s slogans are “an invitation to find out more about a particular political cause”, representing no threat to the sovereignty or the territorial integrity of Pakistan and no offence to the public.

 

The ASA has informed that, therefore, they will not pursue the matter. This decision, made by the highest authority on advertising in the United Kingdom, only confirms that the earlier ban of WBO’s adverts by Transport for London (TfL) was made on a discriminatory basis as a result of pressure from the Pakistani authorities.

 

WBO’s spokesman, Mr Bhawal Mengal, has released a statement (video below) in which he thanks the campaign’s supporters and the positive feedback that #FreeBalochistan received throughout its implementation. Mr Mengal reaffirmed the right of all peoples to advocate for their freedom and their identity and, furthermore, invited the public to learn more about Balochistan.

 

Posted by WBO Media Team
Pakistan’s Delegation meets with UK MPs to advocate against WBO’s ongoing #FreeBalochistan Campaign

Pakistan’s Delegation meets with UK MPs to advocate against WBO’s ongoing #FreeBalochistan Campaign

In the past days, a delegation from Pakistan has engaged in talks with Members of the UK Parliament with a delegation of 12 representing the provincial government, among whom 2 Baloch individuals who have never spoken out for human rights in the region. The delegation, with no legitimacy to represent the Baloch people and their struggle for peace and freedom, has stated that “British Land shall not be used against Pakistan”, according to reports on the media, a clear reference to the World Baloch Organisation’s #FreeBalochistan campaign in London. Pakistan’s actions reveal how frightened the government is that the world discovers the truth about the situation in Balochistan.

 

One of the Baloch individuals who took part in the delegation is Mr Asim Gailu Kurd, well-known in Pakistan for accusations related to drugs and arms trafficking – by no means a representative of the peaceful and lawful struggle of the Baloch people for their human rights.  The other one is Mr Abdul Malik Baloch, who was Chief Minister of Balochistan from 2013 to 2015. At the end of his mandate, the Pakistani media itself pointed to his failure to address the core issues of the region – including the frequent killings and disappearances and the dialogue with leaders of the Baloch nationalist movement. His election to the post of Chief Minister in 2013 happened with 4,500 votes from a population of almost half a million, since the Baloch population largely boycotted the votes as a protest against Islamabad’s institutions.

 

Another good example of the lack of political representation of the secular and progressive Baloch people is that the Deputy speaker of the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan, Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, nominated by the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, was elected with only 544 votes out of 121,000. Later, no more than 26 were certified by local bodies. Apart from Islamabad’s rule being imposed on regional institutions, Balochistan accounts for only 17 of a total of 342 parliamentary seats in the National Assembly of Pakistan, giving the Baloch limited legislative influence in the national sphere.

 

The #FreeBalochistan is a human rights awareness campaign focusing on the dire situation of the Baloch people and urging for the end of killings, torture and enforced disappearances by the Pakistani military in Balochistan. The campaign is based on adverts placed around the city of London, attracting the interest of pedestrians and drivers to this long-forgotten issue that requires urgent attention from the international community. WBO has faced strong opposition from the government of Pakistan, which ruled the campaign “malicious”, “anti-Pakistan” and “an attack to the territorial integrity of Pakistan”.

 

As a result of pressure from Pakistani authorities, Transport for London has ordered the removal of all adverts of the #FreeBalochistan campaign which had been displayed on taxis in London. Claiming that WBO’s adverts are not in accordance with the company’s advertising policy, TfL has made the discriminatory and unfair decision to ban the adverts. However, the campaign is still ongoing and WBO has released a new video of the mobile awareness campaign run across the city of London as part of the #FreeBalochistan campaign.

 

The video can be found here. The campaign highlighted human rights abuses in Balochistan and the worsening of the situation due to the implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), displaying billboards in emblematic locations to the Baloch struggle, such as the Pakistani and Chinese embassies in London.

 

WBO is dedicated to making the voices of the Baloch heard around the world, urging the international community to stand up against the violence suffered by the people of Balochistan, an issue largely marginalised in the media but well reported by prominent organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. WBO will continue to speak out for human rights and freedom of expression regardless of the constant attempts by the Pakistani government to suppress the voices of those who suffer in Balochistan.

 

Posted by WBO Media Team