IIOJK in focus

UNHRC urged to appoint CoI to probe HR abuses by Indian troops in IIOJK

Geneva, September 16 (KMS): In Geneva, the members of the Kashmiri delegation have urged the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to appoint a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to investigate human rights abuses by Indian troops in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

All Parties Hurriyat Conference Azad Jammu and Kashmir (APHC-AJK) chapter leader Altaf Hussain Wani, taking part in General Debate held under agenda item 2 during the 51st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council while speaking on behalf of World Muslim Congress, expressed dismay over the failure of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to report about the worst rights situation in the occupied territory.

Demanding special attention of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights towards the worsening situation in the territory, he said that Amnesty International’s (AI) scathing report on blatant rights violations was an eye-opener for the world.

Referring to the AI’s report, Altaf Wani said that the report stated that at least 36 journalists had, so far, faced interrogation, raids, threats or physical assault for their fair reporting.

He said that despite expulsion from Kashmir and India the AI tried to document the human rights situation which also reflects that the ground realities were underreported and can lead to a catastrophic situation. He said that India was denying access to any HR organization in IIOJK fearing it would expose genocide of the Kashmiris.

Wani urged the UNHRC to appoint a commission of inquiry on the ongoing and past HR violations in Kashmir to hold the HR violators responsible for their worst wrong doings.

APHC-AJK leader Syed Faiz Naqashbandi, taking part in the debate, said no change in Indian repression has been seen in IIOJK even after the two important reports and statements by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the Human Rights Council.

He deplored that Indian authorities in the occupied territory continue to disregard constitutional guarantees and international obligations. He said that the judicial system was unable to provide adequate legal protection to the victims and laws in force provide impunity to the Indian armed forces. The absence of accountability system, he added, has drastically led to increased fake trials and torture in Indian jails.

Syed Faiz Naqashbandi said the unprecedented Indian repression in Indian occupied territory has snatched fundamental rights of Kashmiris and urged the Council to establish a Commission of Inquiry on Kashmir and hold perpetrators accountable.

Another delegate, Sardar Amjad Yousaf Khan, taking part in the debate said that the demographic changes made in IIOJK were of grave concern for the population in, general, and Muslim majority, in particular.

Referring to the Amnesty International report, he said it exposes the Indian government’s claims of so-called normalcy narrative in Kashmir. Since the revocation of Kashmir’s special status in 2019, he said the Indian authorities have arrested many human rights defenders, including journalists and activists, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

He said that dozens of journalists have faced interrogation, raids, threats or physical assault for their reporting until now. About the frequent internet shutdowns he said that the people in Jammu & Kashmir faced at least 85 internet shutdowns in 2021 – one of the highest in the world.Khan urged the UN high commissioner to play her role to save the lives and property of Kashmiris.

Ms Saira, welcoming the UNHRC’s efforts for the promotion and protection of human rights globally, sought the Council’s urgent attention towards the continued bloodshed and violence in the occupied territory. She said, on one hand, unlawful and arbitrary arrests, torture, inhuman treatment of prisoners and extrajudicial killings by the authorities or their agents continued unabated, while on the other, restrictions on free expression and media, human rights defenders and civil society organizations continued.

Referring to Indian government’s nefarious designs to bring demographic shift in the territory, Ms Saira stated that redefinition of the age-old domicile law, delimitation of constituencies and granting voting rights to non-state-subjects were part of the Indian government’s game plan to change the Kashmir’s demographic complexion.

She added that the people of IIOJK had been victims of every form of human rights violation and still awaited the attention of the Council.

APHC-AJK chapter leader, Ms Shameem Shawl taking part in the debate urged the UNHRC to utilise UN mechanisms to protect the life and dignity of the people in IIOJK.

Referring to the rising global tensions that continue to threaten humanity at large, she said that IIOJK was one of the world’s conflict-hit regions where horrors were inflicted on the civilian population.

Speaking on behalf of International Muslim Women Union, she said the UN High Commissioner in her address to the 50th session had observed these challenges leave their indelible mark on future generations. She said that it was imperative for every human rights defender to contribute to protection of human rights and make an effort to improve the human rights environment, particularly in Ukraine, Kashmir and Palestine where international laws were being flouted and the UN commitments being grossly ignored.

The APHC leader said that the UNHRC had presented two reports regarding the grave human rights situation in the disputed territory. The situation in Kashmir, he said, has further deteriorated and human rights violations continue unabated.

Regarding the ruthless suppression of democratic dissent in the territory, Ms Shamim Shawl said, “Democratic space to Kashmir political leadership has been denied and they continue to languish in jails and interrogation centres”.

Citing the black laws enforced in IIOJK, she said, “Indian government is using lawless laws such as Public Safety Act (PSA), Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and other draconian laws to suppress dissent in the territory”.

She regrettably noted that the administration of justice in accordance with established law was not available in IIOJK.

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