GENEVA: Indian held Kashmir’s most senior leader has called on India to stop the oppression of Kashmiris through the use of draconian Army’s Special Powers Act which allows for the security services to detain Kashmiris indefinitely and stay immune from any form of legal culpability.
Launching the report titled “Human Rights in Flames” which documents the rights violations of Kashmiris by Indian security forces and the political establishment but also makes 169 recommendations for India to comply to meet international standards on human rights, Mir Waiz Umer Farooq, chairman All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), drew the attention of the world towards the neglected case of Kashmir, especially the continuing rise in systematic abuse of Kashmiris on daily basis and the “culture of deniability” that India inhabits in.
The report has been prepared by International Council of Human Rights with support from 8 other rights NGOs. United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has agreed to debate the recommendations of the report today (Thursday). The report will then be reviewed in four years to see if any progress has been made on it.
The launch event, organised by Barrister A Majid Tramboo, a renowned Kashmiri campaigner from Srinagar who lives in exile, was attended by a large number of international delegates, senior exiled Kashmiris leaders, academics and independent observes.
Mir Waiz said the latest report succeeds in highlighting what are the main problems that India has to address because India has extended no commitment for the protection of human rights of Kashmiris and doesn’t show any regard. He said Indian occupied Kashmir was the most militarised region on this planet with the presence of more than half a million troops to quell the freedom movement but the Special Powers Act has empowered soldiers to an extent where they cannot be prosecuted when found guilty. “This is the biggest violation of human rights of Kashmiris.”
He said thousands of Kashmiris have been killed in fake encounters, direct and sponsored attacks but there is no way to legally prosecute the killers. “The biggest challenge before us is that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is the darkest and the blackest law in the history of mankind. Under Public Safety Act, any Kashmiri can be detained for two years without any trial for two years. These laws are used against weapon by the Indian state.” He said when Kashmiri youth rise democratically to call for their rights, India responds with brutality. “Over the last 20 years, we have a situation where all kinds of rights of people have been violated day in and day out. We hope that the latest recommendations will be accepted by the state of India.
Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad, Quaid-i-Azam Fellow at the Oxford University, said the reason why gross violations of human rights in the disputed Kashmir have occurred with so much impunity is because the basic political issue of self-determination has not been settled over several decades. However, he said, world public opinion on India’s callous conduct on Kashmir is fast changing, as clear from deliberations at this year’s universal periodic review as well as pronouncements of UN human rights council meetings on India’s role in Kashmir. He said the sets of discriminatory laws India has implemented in Kashmir basically reinforce the view that India has one objective in mind how to suppress the will of the freedom loving people of Kashmir.
Dr Karen Parker, an international educational development expert and a Kashmir analyst, said the double standards of the western world were fully exposed in the case of Kashmir where the west was crying too much over Arab countries but completely silent on Kashmir rights violations. She said India is occupying a country that doesn’t belong to it and it was committing “war crimes” in Kashmir, which was a clear violation of the international law. She called on the world to realise the gravity of the issue as “resolution of the Kashmir dispute is an international obligation. Kashmir is an international concern, nothing less.”
Barrister Majid A Tramboo said: “The report is based on facts supported by independent sources including the Indian sources. The purpose of the report is to assist the UNHRC to finally adopt the 169 recommendations. I can assure that we will monitor the implementation of the adopted recommendations in the next four years.”
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