By News Desk
UNITED NATIONS, Geneva—A top Kashmir civil rights activist who testified earlier in European Parliament, and an Indian lawyer who served in the UN tribunal on Rwanda, succeeded in reaching the United Nations in Geneva to challenge India’s narrative on Kashmir. But Parvez Imroz, Kashmir’s best known rights defender, and Kartik Murukutla, the Indian civil rights lawyer, expressed fear they may be banned from international travel in future by New Delhi.
Their third colleague, Khurram Parvez, a leading Kashmir youth activist, was not allowed by India to board a plane for Geneva. Parvez and his team in the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, or JKCCS, created the first Kashmiri document of human rights violations by Indian army officers and soldiers in a three-year effort that resulted in a 700-page document.
A young Indian lawyer, Kartik Murukutla, also arrived in Geneva and addressed a packed hall of rights experts and activists who are monitoring the recent escalation in Indian-occupied Kashmir. Murukutla, who is not a Kashmiri, has been active in defending the Kashmir freedom movement. He acts as the legal counsel for the JKCCS and is one of the rare Indian civil society voices that speak openly in defense of Kashmiris in India.
Parvez Imroz is a veteran civil rights activist who has testified at European Parliament on mass graves in Kashmir.
The side event at the UN Building in Geneva was the first in a series of weeklong meetings that Imroz and Murukutla are expected to hold with diplomats, rights defenders and international law experts here.
The visit to the UN is the first international trip by Imroz in twelve years. India has been denying him travel documents all these years in order to stop him from speaking on Kashmir at international forums.
The year 2016 will be remembered as the worst year so far for India on Kashmir, a territory that India invaded and occupied in 1947. The Kashmiri uprising has entered its third month and shows no signs of letup.
On Sept. 13, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, in his opening remarks at the first session of Human Rights Council’s second decade since formation, criticized India for failing to allow a UN team to visit victims in Kashmir. He accused India of ‘excessive use of force’ and demanded an international probe into killings in Kashmir.
This was the harshest assessment of Indian role in Kashmir from the UN in half a century, and dealt a blow to Indian diplomacy over Kashmir.
The eight-member Kashmir Delegation for UNHRC’s 33rd session consists of Altaf Hussain Wani-Delegation leader and senior Kashmir freedom leader, senior APHC leaders-Syed Faiz Naqshbandi and Hassan Banna, Sardar Amjad Youssef Khan-Executive Director Kashmir Institute Of International Relations (KIIR), senior woman Kashmiri leader Mrs. Shamim Shawl, Ahmed Quraishi-Executive Director Youth Forum For Kashmir (YFK); an International Lobbying Group, Prof. Shagufta Ashraf-Human rights defender working with women & children and Atia Anwer-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.