Brussels, May 30 (KMS): Member of European Parliament, Nikki Sinclaire supporting the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people has said that she will continue to bring the Kashmiri issue to the political agenda of the European Union (EU).

The official inauguration of the 8th Kashmir EU Week in the European Parliament took place in the galaxy of the MEPs. Officials from the European Commission and Council, embassies and missions representatives, NGO and civil society representatives and other members of European Institutions also participated.

Welcoming the guests, Barrister Abdul Majeed Tramboo elaborated on the main focus of the exhibition, which is to bring reconciliation between Kashmir, India and Pakistan and to end the human rights abuses in Indian Held Kashmir. He highlighted the decade of work undertaken by the ICHR setting the trends to effectively and meaningfully to continue to keep the Kashmir issue on the EU’s radar.

Barrister Tramboo articulated that our partnership in Europe has always paid dividends and the clear example of this is the Norwegian Parliament’s recent debate on Kashmir lobbied by the Kashmiri Scandinavian Council.

Hosting the reception, MEP Nikki Sinclaire stressed on her political convictions and on her commitment to the Kashmiris and their situation, since as citizens we must not only talk about social responsibility, we must demonstrate it. She stated that after her visits to different regions such as Tunisia, Gaza, Bahrain and Afghanistan, she is convinced of the urgency to implement, defend and protect fundamental values and human rights. She stated that since elected in 2009, she has supported the right of the Kashmiri people to self-determination, since it is a basic human right. She finally stated that this initiatives show there is a global commitment to speak out against injustice and repression.

Prof. Nazir Shawl said that the European Parliament recognises the dangerous potential of the 65 year Kashmir dispute both as a threat to security, stability and peace in South Asia, and also an impediment in the economic development of the region. He pleaded for an inclusive structured and sustained dialogue between India, Pakistan and Kashmiris. He declared that the self-determination of the people of Jammu & Kashmir is non-negotiable.

Eija Riitta Korhola MEP highlighted the pressing issue of the death penalty in India and expressed her satisfaction on the recent European Parliament Resolution of Afzal Guru’s secret execution. She further emphasized on the urgency to establish the moratorium on death penalty in India and stressed that the body of Afzal Guru must be returned to his wife and family in order to exercise his religious rites.

Jean Lambert MEP stated that Kashmiri people must have the right to address and decide on their future. She stated that since there is a new government in Pakistan and there are upcoming elections in India, opportunities arise to advance towards reconciliation and the peace for Kashmir.

Phil Bennion MEP highlighted the need to place the Kashmir issue further in the political agenda, especially within the EU institutions. He declared that a sustainable and just peace settlement can only be reached by involving the people of Kashmir in the Indo-Pakistan dialogue, which is why he support a plebiscite as a key part of a peace process.
Tunne Kelam MEP stated that Kashmir conflict is the longest ongoing conflict in history and the European Parliament should address the grave human rights violation in the area.

Krisztina Morvai MEP highlighted the deterioration of women’s situation in Kashmir as a result of the conflict and stressed the European Parliament to address these abuses. She also wrote a letter to the UN Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict about these abuses.

Continuing the call of uniting both parts of Kashmir, Barrister Tramboo along with all invited MEPs expressed their commitment to the Kashmir plight by approaching the model of the Chakoti bridge and joining hands in the hope to reach a peaceful solution to the Kashmir conflict.

Meanwhile, in preparation for the inauguration reception on the 29th of May 2013, Nikki Sinclaire MEP, Barrister Abdul Majid Tramboo, Prof. Nazir Ahmad Shawl and Frank Schwalba-Hoth held a press conference in the pressroom of the European Parliament.

The 8th Annual Kashmir Week “Reconciliation: Kashmir, India and Pakistan” in the European Parliament commenced from the 27th of May 2013. The event was organised by ICHR – Kashmir Project under the sponsorship of Nikki Sinclaire MEP.

Sinclaire MEP stressed that the Kashmir dispute need to be addressed by politicians and the reason that it is not getting any media is probably the politics of convenience. She expressed that she will continue bringing the Kashmiri issue to the political agenda of the EU.

Barrister Tramboo considered the European Parliament’s recent Resolution as a commitment of the European community in support of the human rights advocacy in Jammu and Kashmir. He stated that the European Parliament must push for a dialogue between India and Pakistan involving the leadership of Kashmir for progress to genuine reconciliation and realization of Kashmiris rights to self-determination.

Professor Shawl stressed on the importance of role that can be played by the Kashmiri communities in United Kingdom and in Europe in influencing the politicians to tackle on the Kashmir dispute. He also congratulated ICHR and the European Parliament for the recent Resolution on the hanging of Afzal Guru.

Mr. Shwalba-Hoth said that the European Union must play the role of an honest broker in the Kashmir issue and to bring Kashmir to the EU’s political agenda. He highlighted the work undertaken by ICHR for the past decade and congratulated Barrister Tramboo for the recent achievements.

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