By News Desk
UNITED NATIONS, GENEVA—Kashmir Conflict has entered a new era this week. The United Nations has made the biggest progress in the conflict since the passing of the Security Council resolutions. The first-ever comprehensive UN report on Kashmir, released on June 14, 2018, brings the conflict to the forefront of international agenda. The UN has paved the way for an international humanitarian and political intervention in Kashmir and, in doing so, has revived international interest in the long-drawn conflict, according to diplomats, human rights activists and defenders.
“This is the most important development since the Security Council passed the first resolution on a referendum in Kashmir more than a half-century ago,” said Ahmed Quraishi, Executive Director of YFK–International Kashmir Lobby Group (Youth Forum For Kashmir), at UN Geneva.
Sixty years ago, the UN called for a referendum in Kashmir. In 2018, the UN is calling for a Commission of Inquiry to conduct “a comprehensive independent international investigation” into Indian human rights violations in seventy years of conflict.
“Kashmir now truly tops the international agenda,” says Altaf Hussein Wani, leader of the Kashmir Delegation to the 38th session of UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.
Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein is the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who brought Kashmir under international spotlight following the extrajudicial killing of Burhan Wani in July 2016. This is his last Council session. A new UN High Commissioner will assume office later this year. Zeid, as he is commonly known on social media, is a prince from the royal Hashemite family of Jordan.
The High Commissioner spearheaded a series of high-level policy statements on Kashmir in every session of the UN Human Rights Council, starting in September 2016 and until March 2018.
But on June 14 and again on June 18, the High Commissioner stunned rights defenders and the international community by his recommendation for the UN Human Rights Council to create a Commission of Inquiry into Indian abuses in Kashmir.
“The UN report has achieved two things,” says Sardar Amjad Yousaf Khan, Executive Director of Kashmir Institute of International Relations-KIIR.
“The first achievement is taking Kashmir to the top of the international agenda,” Amjad said, adding, “The second achievement is reaffirming right of Kashmiris to decide their future.”
Major international rights organizations this week criticized India at the Human Rights Council and advised New Delhi to implement the recommendations of the UN report.
Quraishi said the United Nations has indicated that Kashmir Conflict started in 1947, contradicting India’s argument that the conflict began in 1989 when some Kashmiris launched a struggle for freedom.
“The top UN rights official referred to the suffering of Kashmiris for seven decades. This is significant. It shows the UN has underlined that Kashmir is a seven-decades-old conflict,” Quraishi said.
Sardar Amjad believes Pakistani media and diplomacy will have to rise to the challenge of building on the latest international breakthrough on Kashmir.
Another challenge for Kashmiris and for Pakistan is to recognize that the international community has ended its silence on Kashmir, and that the UN deserves credit for this.
The UN report and the recommendation to form a Commission of Inquiry indicate a possible international intervention in Kashmir at some point in future, says Quraishi, adding, “Dealing with this possibility requires diplomatic skill and understanding by Pakistan, India and Kashmiris. Are they ready for this?”
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.