I come from the land of the Baloch people, Balochistan. To understand the Baloch women I have to give you a brief introduction of her motherland.
Balochistan is presently form part of three territorial states of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The country is strategically situated at the eastern flank of the Middle East, linking Central Asian states with the Indian subcontinent and the Indian Ocean. The Baloch land in all practical and strategic purpose has served as a buffer zone between ancient empires and during last few centuries between the Russian possession in central Asia and British India. The country has been a trade route for ancient peoples of central Asia and India and the Middle East.
Some estimates put the Baloch population about 20 million, over four million living in Iran, about two million in Afghanistan and 14 million in Pakistan.
The present day Balochistan is being deprived of basic socio-cultural and political rights of its people by Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan These states are basically being governed not by civilized rule of political and cultural behavior but mostly in the name of religion distorting facts of history and denying the national minorities their minimum political and cultural rights allowed by the various conventions of United Nations.
Our topic is female emancipation, how can the Baloch women find a better future for herself. She is by international law, article 18 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights given the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
The Declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples gives her the right to unrestricted self-determination, an inalienable collective right to the ownership, use and control of lands, territories and other natural resources.
But in reality she lives in the most undeveloped region where illiteracy is high and access to clean water a is privilege.
The Iranian government have forbidden the Balochi language in public and formal places. Baloch children are deprived of using their mother tongue as the medium of instruction at schools. This create alienated feeling with young Baloch people who do not feel represented in the society they live in
By the time Balochistan was annexed to Iran, the British had long since introduced opium to the Balochistan region. However, compared to other areas of Iran, its use was limited to a handful of tribal leaders, mostly in the Sistan area of Balochistan.
When the Pahlavi regime was forced out of power by the Islamic Revolution, drugs were a growing problem in Balochistan and heroin had already been introduced to the society.
The Islamic Revolution and the new rulers, many of whom were newcomers to power and set out to become rich quickly, saw drug trafficking in Balochistan as a fast and easy way to make a fortune. Balochistan's geographic location next to Afghanistan, where opium was grown, and Pakistan, where heroin was produced, made it ideal for these new officials, none of whom were local or Baloch.
The new rulers in Tehran turned a blind eye to these drug lords, who were government officials or their close associates, and concentrated their fight on petty drug dealers. They deliberately mixed the fight against drugs with the suppression of the Baloch national movement.
These obstacles are killing the spirit of the Baloch woman.
The governments of Iran and Pakistan are now targeting the Baloch woman as a way to kill the Baloch nationalism.
Ms. Zarina Marri, a 23-year-old schoolteacher from Balochistan province, was arrested in late 2005, she has been held incommunicado in an army torture cell at Karachi, the capital of Sindh province. She has been repeatedly raped by the military officers and is being used as a sex slave, to induce arrested nationalist activists to sign state-concocted confessions. One man, who was arrested by a state agency and kept in military torture cell almost for nine months, narrated the story of this young woman to Reporters Without Borders, the International Red Cross; and at Woolwich Court in London. The current whereabouts of the young woman are not known. It has been asserted that women who are fighting for the greater autonomy of Balochistan are being arrested by the state agencies and being forced into sex slavery in their custody.
She needs access to education because the Baloch woman is the future of Balochistan as it is she who passes on the linguistic education to the new generation and she is the heart of the culture.
She needs to be in control of the natural resources of her land so that the Baloch society can bloom in prosperity.
She has to be incorporated in the constitution of her country as a First class citizen.
In another world Baloch woman is protected by the United Nations declaration of Human rights.
In another world the Baloch woman is enjoying the right to communication in her own mother tongue.
In another world the Baloch woman would freely benefit from her Ethnical belonging.
This paper was presented By Munireh Sulemani At Social Forum in Brazilian 30 January 2009