A number of billboards around Geneva now highlight an upcoming exposition on the genocide of the Pashtun people in Pakistan. The exposition, which will be held on the 17th and 27th of September at Geneva’s Hall Bungener, is part of a movement to elevate the voices of Pashtun people.
Specifically, Pashtuns are urging the UN to take action against Pakistan to stop the extermination of their people. Pashtuns current face a cultural annihilation complete with systematic violence, mistreatment, and intimidation at the hands of Pakistani-affiliated forces.
Though they have suffered injustice much longer, ten years ago extensive Pakistani military operations were conducted in the region. These heavy-handed military programmes wrought havoc on individual households and entire communities of Pashtun people.
Hundreds of civilians have been assassinated or forcibly disappeared. Villages have been completely levelled to the ground. Forced either to relegate themselves to such atrocious conditions or abandon their homes, many have chosen to leave. Flocking to neighbouring cities in mass numbers, the displaced Pashtuns are stereotyped as terrorists when they attempt to settle elsewhere.
At the present moment extrajudicial executions are on the rise; the number of deaths and missing persons has skyrocketed. Neither the state nor external authorities and organisations have made a point to protest these blatant human rights abuses at the international level.
Everyone has the right to life and security—this principle is the bedrock to all of the UN’s human rights initiatives to date. Until and unless the UN takes clear and definitive action against the Pakistani government, the Pashtun people will continue to suffer under Islamabad’s brutal discriminatory agenda. The UN and the rest of the international community must utilise its diplomatic resources to finally end the genocide of the Pashtun people once and for all.