International community’s intervention sought to deliver justice to Kashmiris

LONDON: Participants of the Kashmir Solidarity Day Seminar came together to review human rights abuses against Kashmiri people and discussed other aspects, such as the genesis of the dispute, women victims, on-going humanitarian crisis since 5 August 2019, documented accounts of crimes against humanity, role of international community, regional security and the socio-economic impact. The participants of the seminar held on 5th February at the Pakistan High Commission, noted with concern that Kashmir dispute remains on UN Security Council agenda since 1947, while grievous human rights dimension has been added to this political dispute over decades. They referred to a long trail of human rights violations, massacres, mass graves, mass rapes, mass blinding, and genocide duly documented by internationally recognised organisations — Amnesty International report: Losing sight in Kashmir; International People Tribunal’s report: Buried Evidence, “Do you remember Kunan Poshpora”, a tale of harrowing incident of mass rape of Kashmiri women, OHCHR reports on HR situation in Kashmir, “Being the other” on November 1947 genocide of Kashmiri Muslims, by Saeed Naqvi, etc.

They noted that eight million Kashmiris remain under siege since 5 August and cut off from the outside world. “Journalists/media have been denied access; means of communications remain unavailable, demands by the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Geneva, OIC, IPHRC, EU and APPG on Kashmir for an independent Fact-Finding Mission to Jammu and Kashmir State under Indian control have been constantly denied.” They said: “Presence of 900,000 Indian forces in Jammu and Kashmir makes it the world’s highly militarised zone, while Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Public Safety Act 1978 are being used without accountability in violation of all the HR conventions and relevant international laws.”

They said: “Reports of prolonged detentions of Kashmiri leaders, activists of self-determination and young Kashmiris, custodial killings, torture and abuses, denial of religious freedom and systemic change in the demography of Jammu and Kashmir, continue to emerge. “The siege has taken toll on the lives of infants, children, terminally ill patients, etc; as genocide alert issued by Genocide Watch for Jammu and Kashmir.” The participants of the seminar called for immediate and unconditional lifting of siege and revocation of the unilateral measures of 5 Aug 2019 as well as allowing immediate, unconditional and independent access to the fact-finding missions. They also called for international community’s immediate intervention to ensure delivery of justice to the Kashmiri victims; reduction of military presence in Jammu an Kashmir; repeal of AFSPA and PSA; immediate measures to de-escalate tension in the region.

They urged the international community and UNSC to take note of the serious humanitarian and human rights violations under IV Geneva Convention, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ICC Statute and a series of international human rights treaties and instruments. President AJK Sardar Masood Khan, Lord Qurban Hussain, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Afzal Khan MP, Debbie Abrahams MP, Naz Shah MP, Ben Emmersen QC, Phillip Bannion, John Howarth, Cllr Yasmin Dar, Prof. Nazir Shawl and other participants of the seminar expressed their resolve to continue with efforts to redress the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir, in particular, and sustainable resolution of the outstanding dispute.