Negar Maleki – in response to a question from a Nojanha reporter about how she assesses the situation of women in Baluchistan as a women’s right activists – stated: “If we go back to the history of this land, especially before colonization, Baluch men have been very committed to their culture, character and beliefs, and women held a high status within the culture. In the oral history, which contains most of the history of this region, there has been consultation and consensus in the court of kings and rulers, in which women have always been present, something that is rarely witnessed in other nations.”
This Baluch women’s rights activist continued: “In Baluch society, girls have always been a symbol of purity and blessing, unlike other cultures, which often considered women to be sinister or shameful. Even if we go back in history. The history of Islam among the Baluch goes back a thousand years, these people, in addition to respect for religion, still value their native culture, when there is a problem or difference between two spouses or two ethnic groups, they were asked whether they wanted the issue to be resolved according to Sharia law or based on Baluchi culture and custom. This shows the rich character and culture of the Baluch people.”
Regarding violence against Baluch women, she said: “If we investigate violence against women, we will will see that the most acts of violence occurred after the colonization, especially the first honor killing which was committed by a ruler named Daadshah, who killed his wife out of suspicion, and today during the clerical rule, with the domination of religious extremists over the civil society of Baluchistan, we are witnessing the peak of oppression and discrimination in the society, especially with regard to Baluch women’’
Negar Maleki added that the regime not only keeps people materially poor but also tries to strengthen the colonising culture. Together, these factors have increased the level of violence against Baluch women and honor killings, and in the context of the word honor, which is very prominent in the patriarchal literature of the government, we have witnessed more violent incidents in the past few decades than before and throughout Baluch history.
She went on to cite systematic poverty against the Baluch nation as one of the main reasons for the increase in problems and violence against Baluch women. It has increased mental illness among Baluch men, under age marriages increase due to family poverty and men get killed because they turn to high-risk jobs and women end up taking the responsibility for the whole family alone.
Ms. Maleki, in response to a question from a Nojanha reporter who asked “as a woman rights activist, what is her solution to raise women’s awareness of the history and current situation and how to stand up against systematic oppression, and what steps have been taken so far?’’ stated ’’although significant steps have not been taken in the Baluchistan region, but we are trying our best to be the voice of Baluch women and to bring to the attention of the world the discrimination and oppression that has been perpetrated in this region, the neglected voice that is seen in the issue of women’s education and to mobilize ourselves.’’
She added that we are still facing a lack of adequate training space to reflect on the lack of security. The issue of gang rape of women and all these issues altogether have prevented families from allowing girls to participate in the society, especially in educational settings.
In regard to the mission of the Hamdelin Bankan organization, she stated “Our goal is to provide political awareness to families to recognize where the root of the problem lies, to know the problem itself is part of the solution.”
Negar Maleki added ”our people can find the right direction to organize Baluch women in their fight and struggle against this systematic oppression and the patriarchal institution they have endured during these two regimes.”
This Baluch women right activist continued: ‘’Although we have the lowest crime rate in Baluchistan compared to other places, both in the general sense and violence against women, we should be conscious and do not think that this situation is appropriate or that it will not increase in the future. Especially considering that the regime deliberately promotes these policies of gender discrimination and patriarchy in order to undermine the foundation of the family and the culture of that community so that it can govern there easily and raise the threshold of oppression of the people of that region.’’
Negar Maleki, in response to why so far women’s institutions and organizations have not been successful in creating this mobilization, and have often remained on the sidelines, stated: “This is true and goes back to the security outlook in Baluchistan. With this tool, the regime has always suffocated the voices of leaders and elites, and has deliberately intensified the security atmosphere of fear in the hearts of the people so that the fight can not take shape as it should, and if there are struggles for the rights of the Baluch people and Baluch women, the regime is trying to put on security threat or anti-religious labels on them so that the Baluch people, who are mostly religious people, stop approaching and supporting the movements.”
She continued: ”demonizing every idea and movement of the opposition and alternative in the eyes of the people prevents the growth of beliefs and movements, this in fact pursues the policy of “divide and rule”. That is why the political consciousness of the people is lagging behind in terms of infrastructure and is culturally poor, and these movements have not yet been properly organized.”
In conclusion, Ms. Negar Maleki said that the only way to raise awareness and revive Baluch culture is to organize. If our people have a proper knowledge of their rights, they will feel the need and will stand against the oppression that is inflicted on the entire Baluch nation and doubly on Baluch women, and women will be more prominent in the face of these inequalities alongside men.