UNHRC asked to hold India accountable for HR abuses in IIOJK

Islamabad, September 24 (KMS): Former President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan, on Friday urged the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to break its silence and hold India accountable for human rights violations and committing crimes against humanity in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

According to Kashmir Media Service, speaking at a webinar convened by Fahim Kayani, President Tehreek-e-Kashmir, UK, on the sidelines of the UNHRC session in Geneva, he said Ms Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and her office are silent at a time when the situation in IIOJK has deteriorated.

The webinar was also addressed by Member of UK Parliament, Afzal Khan, President Tehreek-e-Kashmir Europe Mohammed Ghalib, President Tehreek-e-Kashmir UK Fahim Kayani, Hurriyat AJK leader, Altaf Ahmed Butt, Executive Director Kashmir Institute of International Relations, Altaf Wani, Mahmood Sharif, Ms Shaista Safi, and Ejaz Ahmed Tahir Chaudhry.

Sardar Masood Khan asserted the silence of the UNHRC on Kashmir because of Indian pressure and global politics is an abandoning of its avowed functions and objectives. “The UNHRC must speak and act. There is no excuse for being silent when human rights are being violated in IOJK with impunity,” he said.

The former AJK President said that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had failed to publish its follow-up report on its earlier reports publish in 2018 and 2019 despite the most serious crime being committed in the occupied territory. “India right now is bringing radical change in IIOJK’s demographic composition. Nearly 4.2 million non-native Indians, the majority of them Hindus, have been illegally domiciled in IIOJK. This illegal transfer of population in the disputed territory is a breach of human rights instruments and international law,” he said.

Sardar Masood Khan told the participants and audience of the webinar that the land grab by India in IIOJK is in full swing. “Nearly 80 percent of Kashmiris’ land has been confiscated to build illegal settlements in IIOJK. The other such examples are in the Occupied Palestinian Territory or during apartheid in South Africa. Land laws in IIOJK have been amended by the occupation authorities to deprive the Kashmiris of their ownership rights and it must be stopped,” he said.

The former AJK President stated in his speech that Kashmiri youth are being killed, blinded, illegally detained, and tortured in concentration camps. “Genuine leaders are behind bars. Aasiya Andrabi, Masarrat Alam Bhatt, Muhammad Yasin Malik, and Shabbir Shah – all are in the most notorious prisons. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is under detention. They must be released immediately. No ifs and buts; no false charges of terrorism,” he added.

Referring to the recent forced burial of popular Kashmiri leader, Syed Ali Gilani, he said the barbaric Indian act has shocked and pained all of us. Kashmiris who love him (Gilani) wanted to pay homage to him. “By this act, India has already turned his grave into a monument of liberty. His call for self-determination reverberates in the hearts and minds of the people. His covert burial reveals once again how removed the occupiers are from reality,” he said.

Sardar Masood Khan said the international civil society should know that the civil rights of Kashmiris are their rights too. “Either human rights are universal or they are not. And if they are and in fact they are, every Kashmiri killed in Kashmir is their responsibility too. They should call out India and restore the state of justice in the occupied territory,” he maintained.