The U.N. and the oppressed people of the Middle East

The reality of the world and the region dictates the need for more strategic cooperation and understanding between the oppressed nations of the Middle East and Israel.

UN human rights council  (photo credit: Courtesy)
UN human rights council
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In the final days of World War II, in 1945, president Franklin Roosevelt’s vision laid the foundation of a more cooperative and inclusive intergovernmental organization: the United Nations. The UN’s foundation was based on the principles of human rights, international cooperation and the establishment of a rule-based global order.
However, in its 73 years, the UN has failed to uphold its principles. Instead, its institutions like the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) and its predecessor Human Rights Council have become tools of politics. They have adopted a biased approach against a democratic Israel while ignoring the fate of oppressed nationalities and religious minorities in the Middle East. In 2017, Hyrbyair Marri, a leader of the Baloch people, slammed the UN’s biased attitude toward Israel, saying the body had passed more than 100 resolutions against the only democracy in the Middle East but failed to condemn Pakistan for raping 100,000 women and murdering three million Bengalis.
Jack Donnelly, a professor of University of Denver, although a critic of Israel, acknowledged in his 1988 research paper, “Human Rights at the UN 1955-85: The Question of Bias,” that the UN spent most of its time criticizing Israel and had ignored the genocide in East Timor and elsewhere. He noted that “The singling out of Israel is a clear and dramatic example of bias and double standards in the human rights work of the UN.” Since Donnelly’s analysis, the UN has remained the same and has not brought radical reforms to tackle political bias and institutional incompetence.
The UN and its institutions have never highlighted the human rights violations that are being committed by Muslims against Muslims or by Muslims against other religious minorities. Nations like the Baloch, Kurds, Assyrians, Azerbaijani Turks, Alhawazi Arabs, and religious minorities like Christians and Jews have been facing systematic violations of their basic human rights in the region for the last several decades.
Since Balochistan’s occupation, Pakistan used all sort of weapons and methods to prolong the occupation in the name of Islam. Currently, more than 20,000 Baloch activists and pro-independence civilians have disappeared. Their families are protesting day and night to save their loved ones.
THE IRONY IS, instead of raising Balochistan’s human-rights issues, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres praises Pakistan’s sham democracy and the world’s worst human-rights abusers, such as Pakistan, have been elected to the UN Human Rights Council multiple times.
Similarly, the state of human rights in Pakistan’s neighbor Iran is also very critical. According to Amnesty International’s 2017/18 annual report, the Iranian regime has heavily suppressed freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, religion and belief. Dissidents are being imprisoned. Trials are systematically unfair. And the Iranian regime has “endorsed pervasive discrimination and violence based on gender, political opinion, religious belief, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.”
The Baloch people in Iran face the worst types of state-sanctioned atrocities. During an interview in 2016, an aide of President Hassan Rouhani, Shahindokht Molaverdi, said Iranian authorities executed the entire male population of a village in Balochistan. The village was later identified by human-rights groups as Roushanabad. It is a common practice of the regime to falsely accuse people of drug crimes and then hang them without any fair trial.
The Baloch people are just one of many oppressed nations in the Middle East. All these peoples suffer under those oppressors who are also attacking Israel in the UN and elsewhere. Each and every one of these nations has robbed their own people of the most fundamental rights and freedoms.
Roosevelt’s UN has become a mockery of peace and human rights. It ignores state-backed terrorism and proxy wars perpetrated by countries like Pakistan and Iran; it ignores the real human-rights issues and the plight of oppressed nations of the Middle East and spends much of its time criticizing Israel. In a chaotic world in which Western powers are hesitating to intervene to save human lives or resist Iranian terrorism, institutions like UN have become mere bystanders in global affairs.
The reality of the world and the region dictates the need for more strategic cooperation and understanding between the oppressed nations of the Middle East and Israel for regional security, peace and democracy.
The writer is an activist of the Free Balochistan Movement and a member of Chatham House. He can be reached at