October 26, 2011

UNPO refutes Mehran Baloch assertions and The News International report

Contrary to the report published in the Pakistani media” The News International “ that UNPO gave in to the pressure from Pakistani government and refused to allow platform to Mr.Mehran Baloch, UNPO refuted the report and assertions of Mehran Baloch. UNPO clarifying its position in an email said "we regret that Mr Baloch’s office or News International did not choose to contact the UNPO before running their story and again, we refute any suggestion that the UNPO was influenced by the Pakistan authorities.”

Mr.Mehran Baloch stated in the Pakistani Media on October 22, 2011 that “This is a dangerous trend that the organization advocating the rights of the people are suspended and disallowed to work,”. The event in question was hosted by the Society for Threatened Peoples during the 18th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Counci. Reflecting many years of trusted collaboration, UNPO cooperated with STP in the organization of the event to raise international awareness of the very serious issue of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Balochistan.

"Mr.Mehran Baloch was not scheduled to be a speaker"

Lisa Thomas of UNPO in an email said "The assertion that Mr. Mehran Baloch was denied a platform is inaccurate as on this occasion Mr. Baloch was not scheduled to be a speaker. However the event was open to all and following a request from Mr. Baloch attempts were nevertheless made to add him to the event panel at the last minute. However for technical reasons it proved regrettably impossible to include Mr. Baloch on the list of speakers at such short notice."

Ineptness of Mehran Baloch exposed

The "event did include the participation of three Baloch speakers, two of whom represent UNPO's Member organization, the Balochistan National Party (BNP) with whom Mr. Baloch works very closely." she said. In addition Mr.Mehran Baloch did not avail himself in Q & A session and also did not made a comment at the end of the session. "The event organizers also ensured time was provided for both questions and answers and comment to be made at the close of the event but Mr Baloch did not avail himself of this time to raise any issues." UNPO person stated

LETTER ENCLOSED

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Lisa Thomas
Date: Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 1:42 PM
Subject: Re: Mehran Baloch expulsion


Dear Mr Kumar,

In response to your query about the participation of Mehran Baloch at a recent event involving UNPO, we would be happy to clarify a few points regarding the event.

The event in question was hosted by the Society for Threatened Peoples during the 18th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Reflecting many years of trusted collaboration, UNPO cooperated with STP in the organization of the event to raise international awareness of the very serious issue of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Balochistan.

The assertion that Mr. Mehran Baloch was denied a platform is inaccurate as on this occasion Mr. Baloch was not scheduled to be a speaker. However the event was open to all and following a request from Mr. Baloch attempts were nevertheless made to add him to the event panel at the last minute. However for technical reasons it proved regrettably impossible to include Mr. Baloch on the list of speakers at such short notice.

However, it must be noted that from the outset the event did include the participation of three Baloch speakers, two of whom represent UNPO's Member organization, the Balochistan National Party (BNP) with whom Mr. Baloch works very closely. The event organisers also ensured time was provided for both questions and answers and comment to be made at the close of the event but Mr Baloch did not avail himself of this time to raise any issues.

UNPO must strongly emphasize that the organizers of this event received no communication or pressure from the government of Pakistan or the OIC prior to this event. The regrettable turn of events reflect the protocol and logistical requirements associated with the United Nations.
Because of its work in successfully raising awareness of human rights in countries such as Pakistan, China, and Iran amongst others, the UNPO is essentially prevented from obtaining ECOSOC consultative status with the United Nations. In collaboration with others however UNPO is nonetheless able to raise constructive criticism of the regime in Islamabad and the very serious short-comings we see in governance, accountability, and transparency in Pakistan – the UNPO has, and will continue to be, one of the most consistent voices calling for respect of the human rights of Baloch and others living in Pakistan today.

In sum, we regret that Mr Baloch’s office or News International did not choose to contact the UNPO before running their story and again, we refute any suggestion that the UNPO was influenced by the Pakistan authorities. UNPO remains steadfast in our commitment to the Baloch nonviolent cause, which we continue to raise in our advocacy at the international level with events at the UN and European Parliament planned for 2012 and beyond.

I believe this covers the main issues raised by your question but if we can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Best regards,

Lisa Thomas

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Lisa Thomas
Programme Coordinator
UNPO Secretariat
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l.thomas@unpo.org
Tel.: +31(0)70 3646504
Fax: +31(0)70 3646608
Laan van Meerdervoort 70
2517 AN The Hague
The Netherlands
www.unpo.org

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UNPO denies platform to Baloch leader
Murtaza Ali Shah
Saturday, October 22, 2011

LONDON: A European organisation gave in to pressure from the Pakistani government and refused to allow platform to an influential Baloch leader, who had been raising the Balochistan issue at the UN for more than six years, Baloch activists said on Friday.

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) told Mehran Baloch that the organisation had apprehensions “from partners in working with anyone associated” him, they added.

A representative of the UNPO told Mehran Baloch’s office: “I’m concerned not just for UNPO but also for the Society for Threatened Peoples, which is a strong and loyal partner and a resource that UNPO’s other members also want to be able to use.”

Given the loss of Interfaith International’s Ecosoc status, said the representative in reference to the suspension of the Geneva-based NGO at Pakistan’s request, “we have to be extremely careful not to jeopardise this.”

The UNPO provided platform to many other Baloch figures from various organisations but it categorically told its associates that Mehran Baloch was an undesired person.

Mehran Baloch said he believed the UNPO action came at Pakistani request and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) countries, who support Pakistan on such issues.

He regretted that an organisation like the UNPO had succumbed to the pressure put in by external forces and failed in its duty to “stand up for the people” it is named after. “This is a dangerous trend that the organisation advocating the rights of the people are suspended and disallowed to work,” he said.

He said that Dr Charles Graves of the Interfaith International had assured him that he was looking to continue providing platform to diverse opinion as soon as the suspension period of his organisation ended but also said the pressure on his organisation was too great.

“The refusal by the UNPO to me also reflects how badly divided the Baloch activists are and why they need to show international unity for a common cause. Only our unity can defeat the aims of the minnows,” Mehran Baloch commented.

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