Human rights violations in Kashmir more serious than Palestine, say experts

ISLAMABAD: India is escaping from international humanitarian law by not ratifying or being signatory to Geneva Conventions and Rome Statue while perpetrating gross human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), said experts at a webinar hosted by Legal Forum for Kashmir (LFOVK) on Wednesday. London-based law professor and international law expert Professor Dr. Patricia Hobbs said that the situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir is more serious than that in Palestine. Dr Hobbs emphasised on Article 3 of Genocide Convention which safeguards the rights of indigenous people and said it can be applied for the people of occupied Kashmir.

“The indigenous people of Kashmir are being detained, tortured, disappeared and forcibly transferred to outside Kashmir and all this falls in violation of Rome Statute but India is not party to Rome statute,” she said.

“The amount of forces India has sent to Kashmir falls under crime of aggression,” the professor said. Abdur Rauf Khatana, who is assistant professor of law with specialisation in international human rights law, stated that India will never accept Kashmir conflict as an international armed conflict because then international humanitarian law comes into force.

“Kashmir falls in the category of international armed conflict and we cannot call it internal disturbance,” he said.

“Indian forces are occupying forces according to international humanitarian law and accession which Maharaja Hari Singh has signed with India is not valid,” he added.

Farzana Yaqoob, former minister from Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), gave the example of two United Nations reports on Kashmir in which 90 per cent gross human rights violations are reported in occupied Kashmir.

“The Kashmir conflict is taking toll on physical and mental health of Kashmiris and we need to address and resolve this as soon as possible,” Yaqoob demanded. LFOVK is holding a series of webinars to trigger a debate over Kashmir’s international armed conflict character. Under “International armed conflict and Kashmir”, LFOVK draws various expert opinions from across the globe by inviting international law experts, diplomats, politicians and lawyers.