U.N. Human Rights Day: Crisis Deepens in Indian-Occupied Kashmir
By News Desk
Washington, DC – In recognition of United Nations Human Rights Day on December 10th, the World Kashmir Awareness Forum (WKA) is calling attention to the 73 year-long human rights crisis in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir. With 100,000 civilian deaths, 10,000 missing and civic, political and economic life critically suppressed, the people of Kashmir are facing erasure from history.
Though Kashmir’s right to self-determination was affirmed by the United Nations Security Council during the Indian partition, India has yet to honour this agreement. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Genocide Watch, Amnesty International and numerous other human rights organizations have condemned the ongoing killings, disappearances, forced displacements and alleged sexual violence and torture perpetrated by Indian authorities in the region.
“This year, the people of Kashmir have suffered even further escalations of human rights abuses, including an ongoing communications blockade, forced demographic changes and raids on non-governmental organization, journalists and civil society leaders,” said Dr. Ghulam N. Fai, President, WKA. “All of this is taking place amidst a global pandemic, which Kashmir is incapable of properly addressing due to a critical lack of resources and healthcare infrastructure. It cannot be put more plainly: Kashmiris are facing an existential crisis.”
The WKA presents the following demands to the government of India, and urges the international community to raise their voices in solidarity and support:
1. Immediately lift the military siege, restore all internet connectivity and communications links and release all political prisoners, including underage children, journalists and civil society members.
2. Allow unfettered access to monitor and report human rights violations by credible international bodies, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, U.N. rapporteurs and more.
3. Halt and rescind all laws instituted to accelerate demographic changes and promote the ethnic, cultural and political cleansing of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
4. Disarm and withdraw all Indian military and paramilitary personnel from the occupied territories and allow Kashmiris to exercise their unfettered right of self-determination through a free and fair referendum, as agreed to by the government of India and the United Nations Security Council.
“Kashmiris in the region and throughout the diaspora have endured 73 years of terror, suppression and indescribable loss,” said Professor Khalid J. Qazi, Board Member, WKA. “As we observe U.N. Human Rights Day, the WKA implores the international community not to forget the people of Kashmir. The only hope for an end to the senseless violence is by uplifting Kashmiri voices and uniting for a strong international response.”