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UK MPs hail UN special rapporteurs’ statement on Kashmir

London, February 22 (KMS): The British Parliament members have hailed the United Nations special rapporteurs statement regarding the arbitrary use of the anti-terror laws and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against human rights defenders and journalists in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir aimed at discrediting their work.

A seven-member team of Special Rapporteurs of the UN in a letter addressed to the Government of India on December 22, 2020, have noted that the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) authorises warrantless searches and individual arrests for up to 6 months when the person is designated as ‘terrorist’. Moreover, its broad scope makes it easily amenable to abuse.”

Andrew Gwynne, MP, and Chairman of Labour Friends of Kashmir, said, “We must all accept the UN experts’ observations and restore the special status and protect human rights of minority communities in IIOJK.”

Sam Tarry, MP, said, “We should all pay attention to what UN experts have said in Kashmir. We would like to see peace in the region but this will not be achieved by unilateral actions without the involvement of the wishes of Kashmiri people. The Kashmiri people are the main contestants in this conflict and their voices must be heard.”

Naz Shah, MP, also commended the UN statement on IIOJK, saying following the statement, the global community should act swiftly to stop human rights abuses in the occupied territory.

Naz Shah further said the UN Kashmir resolutions must be implemented to give the right of vote to the Kashmiris to decide about their political future without any pressure

Lord Wajid Khan welcomed the statement made by the UN rapporteurs in relation to demographic change in IIOJK. This undermines the human rights of minorities. The number of domicile certificates from outside Kashmir is changing the population ratio and the government has unilaterally removed protection for those from the territory. The international community is being made aware if what human rights abuses are taking place in IIOJK, he added.

Julie Ward, a former Labour MEP and human rights champion, welcomed the statement from the UN human rights experts who expressed concern over India’s decision to repeal Kashmir’s special status.

Ms Ward added that India’s attempts to alter IIOJK demographic by amending the domicile law is a violation of the UNSC resolutions and international law, including the 4th Geneva Convention.

Phillip Bennion, a Liberal Democrats MEP and Vice Chair of Human Rights Committee for Liberal International said, “On August 5, 2019 the government of India unilaterally revoked the special autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir, despite clear conditions in the accession agreement against such unilateral action. In May 2020 they passed new Domicile Rules which removed the special protections of the territory. This week UN Special Rapporteurs have expressed concerns regarding demographic change and the special status of the disputed region. Let us hope that these concerns will be taken further and that the UN Security Council will now put real pressure on India to uphold human rights in Jammu and Kashmir.”

The President of Tehreek-e-Kashmir, UK, Raja Fahim Kayani welcomed the statements of the British MPs for showing their concern about the rising human rights violations in IIOJK, saying following the statement of the UN, world should come forward to settle the Kashmir dispute once for all as per the aspirations of the Kashmiri people to make South Asia peaceful.