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.