Kashmir from Human Rights Perspective
Ambassador Muhammad Hassan’s Speech at the Webinar on Kashmir from Human Rights Perspective
(05 February 2022)
Let me at the outset, thank the organizers for hosting this event to express solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
As we all know, the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is one of the oldest items on the agenda of the UN Security Council. The dispute remains unresolved due to India's obstinate refusal to honour its commitments to provide the fundamental rights of self-determination to the people of Kashmir. Although the dispute has many dimensions but today, I will focus on the human rights apect of the dispute.
“Self-determination” is itself one of the most widely recognized and fundamental human rights, under the international law:
· The principle of … self-determination of peoples" is recognized in Article 1 of the U.N. Charter.
· Similarly, Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that, "All peoples have the right of self-determination.
· The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 also upholds the right of self-determination as a fundamental right of the people.
Unfortunately, for more than seven decades, the Kashmiri people have been denied of this right. Additionally, they are being subjected to every inhuman tactic and draconian laws to perpetuate this illegal action.
For 73 years, India has been using all tactics to suppress the Kashmiri population. According to Kashmir Media service, since 1989, Indian occupied forces have killed 96,000 Kashmiris; widowed around 23,000 women; raped over 11250 women and girls; and destroyed over 100,000 dwellings, including schools and houses. Pakistan had released a comprehensive and well-researched Dossier last year covering 3432 cases of war crimes perpetrated by senior officers of the Indian occupying forces since 1989.
On 5 August, 2019, India stripped the territory of its special disputed status, guaranteed by its own constitution.
It, then went on to divide the territory into two parts, and declared Ladakh and Jammu as Union territories, meaning that these areas will now be governed by New Delhi as a colonial power. IIOJK, according to international law is now fully under foreign occupation, alien domination and colonial rule.
In 2020, India introduced another illegal legislation- the Indian Domicile Law, by which it allowed non-Kashmiri Hindus (not Christians or Muslims) to acquire property and settle in the state. This is a parallel process to Israel’s granting of full citizenship in Jewish only settlements located in occupied Palestine. This law paves the way for a demographic apartheid in IIOJK and is in direct contravention of international law, especially Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
These illegal actions have been condemned by a growing number of international civil society, and human rights organizations. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in the two reports, unambiguously asked India to “fully respect the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir as protected under international law”. The Genocide Watch issued a genocide alert for IOJK. OIC has repeatedly condemned the Indian actions and asked it to allow the human rights observers to visit Kashmir. The UNSC has held three hearings since 05 August 2019 on the issue.
In a Resolution adopted unanimously by the 47th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) categorically rejected illegal and unilateral actions taken by the Indian government in occupied territory since August 5, 2019, and demanded that India cancel the issuance of domicile certificates to non-Kashmiris as well as other unilateral and illegal actions, including ‘Jammu & Kashmir Re-organization Order 2020’, ‘Jammu & Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate Rules 2020’, ‘Jammu and Kashmir Language Bill 2020’ and amendments to the landownership laws. Rejecting policies being pursued by the ruling RSS-BJP regime, the OIC asked India to refrain from taking any steps to alter the existing demographic structure of the disputed territory.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is important for the international community to speak about these human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, because its silence will only embolden India to continues its policy of violating the human rights. Pakistan therefore calls on the international community to take practical steps and hold India accountable for its gross and widespread human rights violations in IIOJK.
Pakistan also calls upon the United Nations to persuade India for:
i. Complete cessation of military and paramilitary action by Indian forces against the people of Jammu and Kashmir;
ii. Unconditional release of political prisoners;
iii. Repealing of all draconian laws;
iv. Revoking Domicile Law which is designed to change the demography of Kashmir; and;
v. Restoring the right of peaceful association, assembly, and demonstration.
We also call upon the OIC and its member states to stand behind the oppressed people of Jammu and Kashmir in their struggle for the right of self-determination.
I thank you.