By News Desk
UNITED NATIONS, Geneva—The courage of the women of Kashmir, Palestine and Western Sahara was highlighted at the UN building in Geneva on International Women’s Day. The African Commission for Human Rights arranged a sideline event parallel to the 31st UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) where Kashmiri, Palestinian and Western Sahara activists briefed the world on the state of women in their respective regions.
The international organization chose a Kashmiri activist, Shagufta Ashraf, to lead the event. Ashraf told international rights defenders that India’s occupation army is responsible for over ten thousand rapes of women in the occupied territory. Kashmiri women, hardened by the forced disappearances of their husbands and the murder of their sons, have taken to peaceful activism to resist the Indian military occupation.
Daniela Donges, from the Geneva-based international rights organization Scales for Justice, compared Kashmir to Palestine as she laid out a presentation on the latest developments in the Palestinian occupied territories.
Saadani Malenine, from Western Sahara, spoke about the strength of the women of Western Sahara.
Mrs. Shamim Shawl, veteran Kashmir women’s activist, gave a detailed description of the ground realities for women rights activists in Kashmir. She recounted her experience working from abroad with Kashmiri women activists inside Indian-occupied Kashmir who risk their lives challenging one of the largest standing armies of the world. Another Kashmir activist, Zartasha Niazi, briefed the international community on the state of children in Kashmir. She blasted the Indian army for the arbitrary arrests of children as young as 10 years old.
This was the largest event at the United Nations in one year where the courage and plight of Kashmiri women was effectively highlighted.
The eight-member Kashmir Delegation for UNHRC’s 31st session consists of Altaf Hussain Wani-Delegation leader and senior Kashmir freedom leader, senior APHC leader-Syed Faiz Naqshbandi and Ishtiyaq Hameed, senior Kashmir freedom leader Mir Tahir Masood, senior woman Kashmiri leader Mrs. Shamim Shawl, 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.
Youth Forum For Kashmir (YFK) is Pakistan’s first pro-Kashmir, registered and nonpartisan International lobbying group led by young Kashmiris and Pakistanis working to ensure justice to Kashmiris living under Indian-military occupation.