In a strong indictment of the United Nations for its apathy towards Baloch people, human rights activists have set up a pavilion right outside the United Nations office in Geneva, highlighting their genocide committed by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) activists told IANS that they have set up a pavilion named ‘Save the Baloch’ outside the UN Office of Geneva adjacent to the iconic broken chair. “The UN has failed its own mandate to protect and fight for human rights across the globe. Silence from the UN on Baloch people is essentially an endorsement of their cultural extermination of genocidal proportions,” protesters outside the UN office said.

The campaign launched by BHRC, protesters said, “is a push to garner greater international awareness for the near-extermination of the people of Balochistan.”

Pakistan occupied Balochistan in 1948 and after the country became the Islamic Republic, imposed religious laws and culture which have been alien to the ethnic Baloch. “This was a flagrant intrusion into the Baloch way of life and a blatant denial of the secular and democratic principles to which the Baloch cling. Since the Pakistani government invaded the region, the people of Balochistan have suffered under constant oppression and terror,” activists said.

While speaking at the pavilion, activists pointed out that death squads kidnap social and political activists and human rights defenders, who are then murdered and thrown into mass graves. Several mass graves have been discovered across Balochistan, activists said, adding that military oppression is the key tactic Pakistan has employed in order to sustain its unjust rule over the Baloch.

“The people of Balochistan were never asked whether they wanted to be part of Pakistan. Baloch people never gave their consent to have their territory annexed into the fundamentalist hotbed that is Pakistan.” Despite the people’s peaceful requests for a referendum on the future status of Balochistan, the Pakistani government has denied their right to self-determination.”

The government in Islamabad, protesters said, pushes the narrative that the people of Balochistan are happy with Pakistan. “This narrative is baseless and demeaning to the actual lived experiences of the Baloch,” BHRC headed by Dr Naseer Dashti and Dr Habibullah Malik, said.

The BHRC protesters demanded the UN initiate an immediate and thorough investigation into the Pakistani government’s actions in Balochistan and to hold Pakistan accountable for its egregious human rights abuses against the Baloch people.

“Defending the rights of the people of Balochistan is not an option,” it is an obligation. Freedom for Balochistan has been long-delayed, but it cannot and will not be denied,” a protestor said.