UNPO condemns the violent actions and tragic loss of innocent life and urges greater dialogue between nonviolent Baloch groups such as the Balochistan Peoples Party and Iranian authorities.
Two bomb attacks in West Balochistan on October 18 killed six commanders of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards, the greatest number of Iranian military deaths for several years. Thirty seven others were killed in the attack for which the insurgent group, Jundallah claimed responsibility.
UNPO condemns the violent actions and tragic loss of innocent life and urges greater dialogue between nonviolent Baloch groups such as the Balochistan Peoples Party and Iranian authorities. Open cooperation with third party mediators would stem increasing resentment and hatred towards the centralised government whose policies continue to discriminate against the Baloch people and other ethnic and religious minorities.
Colonial borders established in the early 20th Century divided the Baloch nation into three. Balochistan is now contained largely within the borders of Iran and Pakistan with a smaller part overlapping Afghanistan. Since the division of the territory, the basic human rights of the Baloch people on the Iranian and Pakistani sides of the borders have been systematically violated. The region is rich in natural resources, has an abundance of rich minerals and fertile land and has a strategic coastline on the Oman Sea that stretches 1000 kilometres. Despite this, the Baloch people have the lowest socio-economic indicators in the whole of Iran and Pakistan.
Resentment has increased as the Baloch have been increasingly marginalised from political processes but Tehran has shown great resistance to openly and honestly engaging in dialogue with Baloch representatives or to increasing their role in the governing of their region. A policy of no tolerance towards any form of opposition in the region has spawned violent terrorist cells.
UNPO calls today for greater and active engagement with nonviolent groups through international mediators that will assist the mutually beneficial weakening of the extremist entities within the region by removing their alibi of reacting against political ostracisation.