December 22, 2006Foreign Affairs

The Darfur next door

Aid organisations force Pakistan to admit the existence of a humanitarian crisis in Balochistan

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Almost 84,000 people, including 33,000 children are internally displaced because of a civil war. For over six months, UNICEF, Oxfam, CARE, and the International Committee of the Red Cross have been pleading with the government to allow them to deliver emergency assistance to prevent a humanitarian crisis. The government denied them entry, turned back those who decided to deliver assistance anyway, and to top it all, denied that there was a humanitarian crisis in the region.

Sounds familiar? But no, this is not about Sudan’s Darfur province. It’s about Balochistan. It qualifies, according to a foreign observer, as a crimes against humanity’ situation.

As long as the Pakistani government’s strategic neglect” of the internal refugees in Balochistan was little known outside the small circle of aid-workers and UN agencies, it just denied anything was amiss. Only when it became clear that news of 84,000 starving people would get out, the Pakistani government quietly sought UN help.

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