Who will hear the plea of Baloch refugees?

Monday, December 14th, 2015 05:52 pm

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By Rashid Baloch

Currently thousands of people are fleeing their home countries to look for sanctuary in Europe and Americas. Many of these migrants are from war torn regions such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Balochistan.

Most of them are migrating to European countries seeking personal safety because in their home countries they are not safe.  Some are victimized by gangsters, religious terrorists, criminals, and some by the theocratic regimes and their fundamentalist armies. In most cases even the criminal gangs and religious extremists operate with government’s blessings. Hence most of the migrants seeking asylum in foreign countries are victims of either their own governments or occupying forces. For instance the Baloch people are being disappeared, tortured and killed simply for being Baloch and raising voice for their rights including the right to be free.

In return the Pakistani military has been severely punishing by bombing their homes, abducting their children and killing other family members. Balochistan is one of the forgotten conflict of world where Pakistan is involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity. The international media and human rights organisations are not allowed to visit the area and report freely.  Pakistan forces have arrested and disappeared more than 20,000 Baloch and killed around 8,000 Baloch political prisoners. Most of the victims are political workers, who were killed because they expressed a desire for self-determination and freedom.  The Baloch are peacefully struggling to regain their independence because their country – Balochistan – was illegally occupied and forcibly annexed by Pakistan in 1948.

Since the occupation of Balochistan the Pakistan forces have been violating the Baloch people’s basic human rights. The Baloch are treated like 2nd class citizens in their own homeland – Balochistan. The International Community has so far ignored the plea of Baloch people for support.  Due to Pakistan’s indiscriminate human rights violation and war crimes many Baloch political workers are fleeing Balochistan in search of safe sanctuaries where they could live a dignified and peaceful life.

Many Baloch political activists and leaders have made it to European countries, America and Canada where they sought political asylum fearing for their lives back in Balochistan but hundreds of Baloch families including women and children have been stopped near the border of Greece where they are not being allowed to continue their journey toward Europe. I personally know few of these refugees who are stuck at Greece border.

Last week one of the Baloch refugees contacted me to tell his ordeal at the border. I asked the reason why Baloch not allowed to Cross the border of Greece and he replied Greece have some political issues with European Union that is why apart from Syrian, Afghan and Iraqi refugee other people are not allowed to cross the border. He complained that nobody from the government of Greece or from the United Nations was available ‘to speak with us about our problem and raise the issue at the European Union.’

He said most respectfully “I beg that we need help. We want to go Germany please help us.”

The Baloch refugees face lot of problems while travelling to Germany. ‘Our families, many Baloch brothers and sisters from Balochistan, Lyari, Malar and different places are facing critical problems in Macedonia and in Hastens also,’ he said adding that They all want to go to Germany but they are trapped at the border of Macedonia Greece from past two weeks.  ‘No one cares about them, and no one is providing them food and water.’

Initially all of them brought their own food, water and other necessary things but their stock is running out by passage of each day.  The little money they brought with them, they have been spending that on food at the border. ‘I fear if they are trapped at the border for a longer period of time, their money will run out and they will not be able to buy food and water,’ my friend explained to me.

The United Nations must take notice of their serious situation and do something substantial to help the stranded Baloch refugees. The Baloch leader and activists who have made to the safety of European countries should also raise the issue of Baloch refugees’ at all available forums because the Baloch people trapped at the border. They have been waiting for several weeks waiting for Greece government to allow them to cross the border but so far there are no signs of any flexibility from the government.

They invested everything they had leaving their homelands to escape violence and persecution seeking sanctuary; only to reach a dead end at a closed border.  Now their situation has become even more desperate.

The Europe Union and government of Greece should to permit these displaced peoples cross the border.  If they are forced to return back to their native country, they will surely disappeared, tortured and killed.  Many of them are political workers who have participated in protests, raised their voice and written against unlawful annexation and occupation Balochistan by Pakistan. The discovery of discarded mutilated bodies and routine enforced abductions during military operations is a daily routine in Balochistan.  Balochistan’s predicament and the suffering experienced by the Baloch people is no different than the refugees fleeing Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan.

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