Great Day For Kashmir At UN Geneva: A Major Seminar, EU-Wide Campaign, And A Photo Exhibit On Kashmir Crisis
By News Desk
UNITED NATIONS, Geneva—Speakers from countries as diverse as the United States, the Philippines and Spain converged on the United Nations building in Geneva to speak on disappearances in Indian-occupied Kashmir and raise voice for Khurram Parvez, the lead civil rights activist illegally detained by India. Parallel to this, dozens of young Kashmiris settled in Italy, France and Switzerland gathered from the morning in front of Palais des Nations and raised slogans condemning India’s extremist Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian Army for massive rights violations in Kashmir.
But the highlight of the day was a photo exhibit at Geneva Press Club that told the story of the current Kashmir Crisis through the lenses of news photographers working for international wire services like Reuters, the Associated Press, Agence France Press, EPA, and Aljazeera.
“India has been effectively isolated at the UN,” declared Altaf Hussain Wani, a senior All Parties Hurriyet Conference leader who is leading the Kashmir Delegation to the 33rd Session of UN Human Rights Council.
The photo exhibit at the Geneva Press Club was titled, Kashmir Crisis in Pictures. All the eighty-seven pictures displayed with captions have appeared in news publications worldwide and have been disseminated by wire services. The significance of the photo exhibition lay in how the story of the current crisis in Indian-occupied Kashmir was told through credible, sourced pictures with captions containing names, places and a description of major stories in Kashmir caught on camera.
The region is in turmoil since July 8, when Indian occupation army killed pro-freedom youth activist Burhan Wani in cold blood and claimed he was killed in gun battle. India is desperate to paint Wani, whose funeral was attended by tens of thousands of mourners, as an armed militant to legitimize his murder.
Activists from the US, the Philippines, and India-occupied Kashmir gathered later at the UN building to raise voice for Khurram Parvez, the renowned Kashmiri civil rights activist who was first stopped by Indian authorities from participating in UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva and was later illegally detained. He continues to be in jail.
Renowned intellectuals from around the world and human rights defenders have written to the Indian government seeking Khurram’s release. This event was organized by lead Kashmiri woman activist Shamim Shawl from the platform of International Muslim Women’s Organization, IMWO.
These efforts in Geneva add to the growing pressure on India regarding its military occupation of Kashmir and the rights violations involving the Indian army.
India, which worked hard for years to stop Kashmir from being raised at international forums, now faces a difficult diplomatic environment where Kashmir is coming center stage after decades of remaining a neglected conflict.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein broke half-century of UN silence when he put Kashmir alongside other major world conflicts like Syria and Ukraine in his Sept. 13 opening remarks of the 33rd session of Human Rights Council at Geneva.
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.