By News Desk
UNITED NATIONS, Geneva—This week, a small delegation of Kashmiri activists attending the 31st session of United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva showed the limits of Indian diplomacy. What Indian diplomats and government achieves internationally is destroyed by the actions of India’s occupation army in Kashmir.
“India is its own worst enemy. It is making our job easier,” said Altaf Hussain Wani, the leader of the Kashmir delegation, as he mingled with rights defenders from around the world in the lobby of Palais des Nations, the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
India is one of the largest arms buyers in the world. It is paying hundreds of millions of dollars to CNN and to PR companies to improve image. But Indian diplomacy is unable to fight human rights defenders who monitor the Indian occupation army in Kashmir.
The occupied territories of the Kashmir Valley are bringing India down.
“The lesson is simple: you can have the largest army in the world, but if you kill innocent people, you are alone,” said Wani, referring to the latest incidents of Indian occupation soldiers killing young Kashmiri men.
On May 8, 2016, the International Women’s Day, the Kashmir delegation launched a book with a haunting title: Prisoner No. 100. It is a passionate and moving account of a young female Kashmiri activist, Anjum Zamarrud Habib, who, in February 6, 2003, was sentenced to five years of rigorous imprisonment in the worst jail in India, the Tihar jail, where inmates come out either dead or mentally ill.
The case against India’s practices in Kashmir is so strong that Kashmiri rights activists have an open field. Abdelwahab El Hani, member of the UN Committee Against Torture, which reports to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, set aside time this week to meet the Kashmir Delegation and listen to detailed accounts of the latest violations committed by the Indian army. These violations are listed in two reports released recently. One is INDIA 2015/2016, released by Amnesty International, and the other is Do You Remember Kunan Poshpora? This is the story of one Kashmiri village stormed by Indian soldiers one night, where every single woman, regardless of her age, was raped. It probably is the worst case of army soldiers raping women in an occupied territory.
Women activism is an intrinsic part of Kashmir freedom activism. And the sexual crimes of the Indian army in Kashmir pushed Kashmiri women to seek justice through peaceful and robust political activism against the illegal 68-year-old Indian occupation. In this regard, veteran activist Shamim Shawl met Silvia Magnoni, Senior Community Manager and Global Leadership Fellow at the World Economic Forum. Such meetings are instrumental in connecting Kashmiri women to a global women’s network, and dozens of such meetings are held annually.
The Kashmir delegation itself is a reflection of the dynamism of Kashmir activism. It is drawn from Kashmiris in Azad (free) Kashmir and from Indian-occupied Kashmir. They practice law, human rights activism, journalism, and education to spread their message.
And the message is clear: This is the 68th year of military occupation in Kashmir. And this occupation will end because the people want it to end. No one can stop the tide. Not even India with its shiny new weapons and paid image-building campaigns on CNN.
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.