By News Desk
UNITED NATIONS, GENEVA—During the 37th session of UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, rights activist Ahmed Quraishi representing the World Muslim Congress, thanked the UN panel for their work and their reports. Referring to Kashmir, he said that we would like to focus on a disturbing emerging trend where some governments gradually constrain the civic space through incremental actions that help them escape scrutiny.
As an example, he said, I would like to bring to this respected Council the case of a young journalist from Indian-occupied Kashmir. He could be physically harmed or die because of his reporting work. His name is Salman Shah, and he is the Chief Correspondent for The Kashmiriyat newspaper. Last week, he was entering his house in the city of Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, when an Indian police officer lobbed a tear-gas shell at his doorstep. This Indian officer has in the past warned Salman Shah of dire consequences for his reporting on human rights violations by India’s occupation army in Kashmir. The Indian police officer used the pretext of a stone-pelting incident in nearby neighbourhood to attack the journalist living in a different neighbourhood.
India has a disturbing recent record of restricting civic space in the occupied territory of Kashmir. After the 33rd session of this Council, Indian human rights lawyer Kartik Murukutla was detained and questioned upon landing in India. He works on Kashmir. Another prominent rights defender, Khurram Parvez, the Chairperson of Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, was prevented at New Delhi airport from boarding a flight to attend the Sept. 2016 session of this Council.
Three cases. Three rights defenders – an activist, a lawyer, and a journalist – and a clear attempt to restrain the civic space by Indian authorities in Kashmir.
A Kashmir Delegation representing both parts of the conflicted region is in Geneva to participate in the 37th session of UN Human Rights Council. For the first time in decades, Jammu and Kashmir has become a top agenda item in the policy statement of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights. The OHCHR has included Kashmir in the list of other urgent international conflicts, like Syria.
YFK–International Kashmir Lobby Group (Youth Forum For Kashmir) is a non-partisan, international non-governmental organization, working for the peaceful resolution of Kashmir Conflict in accordance with United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.