SRINAGAR – On the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights— while Kashmiris demand for the right to self-determination to join Pakistan since 1947, the UN has published its first human rights report on the Muslim region, TRT World informed on July 2.
Hundreds of Kashmiris descended on the UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland on June 28 to thank the UN high commissioner for its historic report that alerted the Human Rights Council (UNHCR) to the Indian atrocities against the Muslim population of Kashmir.
In addition to the Kashmiri delegation which attended the 38th session of UNHRC and joined the rally, another huge demonstration of Muslims and Kashmiris was held at the Broken Chair Square in front of the UN’s Palace of the Nations in Geneva.
“It’s a refreshing change. We used to come here to protest UN silence and Indian atrocities. Today, we come to thank the UN,” Pervez Ashraf, a former minister of Azad Kashmir told Urdu Point.
The gathering demanded the commission of inquiry to be established as requested by the UN high commissioner, according to a message received at the UN office.
UN Avoids Impediment
The report was released by the UNHCR on June 28 without a prior press release. In May 2015, a similar report from ‘Amnesty International’ was delayed for two months after India hampered its release, before releasing it in July 2015.
Thus, it was expected from the UN to publish its report immediately without prior press releases to avoid any repeated Indian obstructions.
The 49-page report primarily covers the inhumane repression of Muslim Kashmiri protests between June 2016 and April 2018,
The report acknowledges that, “there is an urgent need to address past and ongoing human rights violations and abuses and deliver justice for all people in Kashmir, who for seven decades have suffered a conflict that has claimed or ruined numerous lives.”
It’s an exhaustive documentation of the killings, torture, enforced disappearances, sexual violence, arbitrary arrests, illegal children detentions, ambulances targeting, communication blockades, media gags, and unabated violence against the Muslim population of Kashmir. It also highlights the impact of curfews and strikes on education and social life.
The report confirmed that the Indian laws in Kashmir are manipulated to create an environment of lawlessness.
Late But Significant
For human rights groups, the report is significant despite the fact that organisations like Amnesty, Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), and the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) have been locally documenting these violations for a long time.
The press statement by APDP and JKCCS regarding the UN report, notes that “this report has deep symbolic value following years of silence by the UN since 1947.”
Many see this report unique since the reports of most NGOs and civil society groups reduce the Kashmiri issue to a case of human rights violations without contextualising the historical, religious and political realities.
The UN report notes that the UN’s Security Council resolutions on Kashmir can’t be terminated except by a decision of the Security Council itself, and this report should also be a wake up call for the Security Council itself.
The historic report closes with a strong recommendation to “fully respect the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir as protected under international law.”