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International gay rights defender dedicates his award to Balochistan's freedom

Peter Tatchell at a rally in London
Peter Tatchell at a rally in London
Peter Tatchell Foundation

British gay and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has dedicated his receipt of an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from De Montfort University to the people of Balochistan and their struggle for freedom and self-determination.

Mr Tatchell, a Briton who traces his roots to Australia, has been in the forefront of the international gay rights movement and was beaten up in Russia for his role in organizing a gay pride parade. He has also exposed closeted gays in U.K., who publicly oppose homosexuality. Side by side in fighting for gay rights, Mr Tatchell has been a crusader for the rights of the voiceless people facing state terrorism all over the world, including the Baloch people in Occupied Balochistan.

He has spoken at numeorus Baloch rallies in London, made presentations on behalf of the Baloch people at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva and ambushed the motorcade of Pakistani dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf in London, while the dictator was still in office, in support for Baloch rights.

Mr Tatchell received his award on 23 January 2014, in recognition of his 47 year of human rights campaigning, at a ceremony at The Curve in Leicester, UK.

In his acceptance speech, he said: “I dedicate my acceptance of this honorary doctorate to the people of Balochistan who have suffered more than 60 years of annexation, occupation and human rights abuses by Pakistan. They will win their freedom in the end.”

He added: “In accepting this honour, I pay tribute to the many heroic, inspirational activists I have worked with to defend human rights in Uganda, Somaliland, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Balochistan, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Western Sahara, Iraq, Palestine and West Papua.

“I am so lucky to have had the privilege to know and support so many amazing, courageous human rights defenders around the world. I walk in their shadow, humbled by their bravery and sacrifice.”

Urging people to work for equality and social justice in Britain and worldwide, he concluded: “To quote my fellow sodomite and socialist Oscar Wilde: ‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.’”

Mr Tatchell's dedicating his award for Balochistan freedom coincided with unearthing of a mass grave of Baloch freedom activists in the Balochistan district of Khuzdar Saturday. Pakistan army, Military Intelligence, Inter Services Intelligence and Frontier Corps are reportedly committing crimes against humanity in Balochistan.

According to historical archives, Balochistan was annexed against the wishes of the Baloch people on March 27, 1948 by Pakistani military. Tens of thousands of Baloch and a smaller number of Pakistanis have been killed in five armed uprisings since the forced occupation of Balchistan. These insurgencies have been called wars of liberation by the Baloch nationalists -- the fifth insurgency, more than a decade old, is still ongoing.

Although being gay is taboo in Balochistan, majority of Baloch males, like their Persian and Afghan counterparts, are secretly bisexuals.

The founder of the American Friends of Balochistan, who is the first openly gay person from Balochistan, has expressed his deep gratitude for Mr Tatchell's gesture. "Mr Tatchell's untiring efforts have raised the international profile of the freedom movement in Balochistan. It is much needed at a time when the Pakistan army is repeating in Balochistan crimes against humanity and war crimes that Pakistani soldiers committed in Bangladesh in 1971. Mr Tatchell's crusade for Baloch rights has undoubtedly also helped create acceptance of gay rights in Baloch tribal society," the A.F.B. founder said.

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