Kashmiri Activist At UN: Please Save Our Women And Girls

By News Desk

GENEVA/ISLAMABAD—The world is now hearing a new argument for international intervention in Kashmir. This time, the call is being made for international NGOs to enter Indian-occupied Kashmir to help women and children traumatized by India’s 68-years of military occupation.

The call was made by two young women activists from Azad (free) Kashmir and Pakistan on the sidelines of the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

This call is the latest sign that Kashmir is returning to the top of the international agenda. And the biggest evidence of this came over the weekend when an international panel of six speakers, all of them top human rights defenders, included two Kashmir freedom activists.

Shagufta Ashraf from Kotli, in Azad (free) Kashmir, and Zartasha Niazi, rights activist from Kashmir Institute for International Relations (KIIR), in Islamabad, spoke at an interactive roundtable on Women and Children Rights Violations in Kashmir and in Other Conflicts Worldwide.

“The unending conflict in Kashmir has produced widows, half-widows, and hundreds of missing persons,” Zartasha Niazi told an audience of international human rights defenders.

She said the presence of Indian army has traumatized women and children. Female students feel unsecure at the sight of Indian army pickets on most Kashmiri streets. Numerous cases of Indian soldiers attacking and molesting Kashmiri students have created a constant panic among parents.

Shagufta Ashraf, a professor at AJK University, told the international panel that States were failing to meet their responsibilities to end violence against women and girls in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

She invited world governments and INGOs to intervene in Kashmir to protect women and girls. “The most effective way to fight violence against women,” Prof. Ashraf said, “was a clear demonstration of political commitment by States backed by action and resources.”

A bad situation across the globe is not an excuse to ignore women and girls of Kashmir, Ms. Ashraf said.

“While the situation is grim across the globe, Kashmir is no exception where the situation is even worse. The Kashmir Valley has seen unprecedented crimes against women in thirty years,” she said.

This is the time, she said, for the international community, the UNHRC and especially for the NGOS working for women and children to come forward to rescue and support the suffering women of Indian-occupied Kashmir and hold accountable members of Indian army involved in crimes against women and girls.

India is considered to be one of the worst places in the world for women. The situation is worse in Kashmir, where no law applies because it is under military occupation.

The Kashmir Delegation consists of Altaf Hussain Wani-Delegation leader and senior Kashmir freedom leader, senior APHC leader-Syed Faiz Naqshbandi, Sardar Amjad Yousaf Khan-Executive Director Kashmir Institute of International Relations (KIIR), Ahmed Quraishi-Executive Director Youth Forum For Kashmir (YFK); an international Kashmir Lobbying Group, Prof. Shagufta Ashraf-human rights defender working with women & children and Zartasha Niazi-human rights defender.

Press Release
Dateline Geneva September 21, 2015

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