The World Environment and Resources Council (WERC) on Friday urged the United Nation Human Right Council (UNHRC) to look into the grave human rights violations of Sindhi people resulting from the of construction of a mega Diamer-Bhasha Dam by Pakistan. “We request the Council to use its powers to stop Pakistan from undertaking anti-environment and anti-people dam project that is bound to destroy an entire people, the Sindhi people, and their thousands year old civilisation. We request the international community to use its power so that the previous mega-dams are decommissioned that have severely marginalised Sindhi people,” Dr Lakhu Luhana said.
Luhana apprised the UNHRC that the construction of the dam has been vehemently opposed by the people and legislators of three out of four provinces of Pakistan, that is, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa and Balochistan as well Pakistan occupied Kashmir. He further said, “being the lower riparian, the vulnerability of Sindh and its people, is huge.
The construction of mega dams such as Tarbela and Mangla and numerous canalsin the past against the wishes, demands and struggle of Sindhi people has brought a havoc. As a result, water flow to Sindh has decreased severely and as much as by 90% down Kotri barrage since 1970s.” He also underlined the devastation the persistent droughts are causing.
“Destruction of millions year old habitats – out of eight known species of plants four have vanished, three are at the verge of extinction. Desertification is happening. Erosion of land mass by sea water intrusion has destroyed hundreds of villages including many historical, 3.5 million acres lost since 1956 including agricultural lands. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced,” he said.
Luhana also underscored that the proposed and built mega water projects of Pakistan are in contravention of the international laws, agreements and conventions on Climate Change, Sustainable Development, Biodiversity, Cultural Preservation and Desertifications. While adding, that the construction also challenges the water accords in constituent parts of Pakistan.