Over 50 countries at UN urge India to halt rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir

Over 50 countries in the U.N., including Turkey, as well as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), urged India to stop human rights violations in the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir. "The worsening human rights and humanitarian situation in the Indian Administered Jammu & Kashmir, especially following decisions taken on August 5, 2019, requires urgent attention by the Human Rights Council and human rights mechanisms," the countries said in a joint statement. The statement came after Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. "Consistent with the U.N. Charter, Security Council resolutions and human rights standards and international law, the international community should ask for: Respect and protection of fundamental human rights of the people of Indian Administered Jammu and Kashmir, especially the right to life, liberty and security," the countries said in a joint statement. They also called for the immediate lifting of the curfew, ending the communications shutdown, and the release of political prisoners in Jammu and Kashmir. Also demanded were an immediate halt to the excessive use of force, especially the use of pellet guns, and unhindered access of human rights groups and the international media. They also asked for the implementation of the recommendations of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' (OHCHR) Kashmir reports, including the establishment of a UN commission of inquiry to investigate "egregious human rights violations." "We also support a peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute through the implementation of the UNSC resolutions," the statement said. Last month Ankara called on the United Nations to take more initiative in resolving the Jammu and Kashmir dispute within the framework of U.N. resolutions.

Jammu and Kashmir has been under a near-complete lockdown since Aug. 5, after India scrapped its special status as the government has blocked communication access and imposed restrictions to thwart any protests in the region. Several rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have repeatedly called on India to lift restrictions and release political detainees. Indian authorities, however, claim that daytime restrictions have been lifted in 90% of the region. From 1954 until Aug. 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special status under the Indian constitution, which allowed it to enact its own laws. The provisions also protected the region's citizenship law, which barred outsiders from settling in and owning land in the territory. India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over Kashmir. Since 1947, more than 94,000 Kashmiris have been killed during clashes with Indian authorities, according to Pakistani sources. Islamabad has urged the international community to fulfill its moral and legal obligation by giving Kashmiris the chance to realize their inalienable right to self-determination in accordance with the Security Council resolutions. India has about 500,000 soldiers deployed to its half of Kashmir, where separatists have been fighting for independence or a merger with Pakistan for decades. The rebels and police forces often confront each other in the region.