On 30th September 2020, Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad organized an Online International Conference on “Role of Human Rights Watch in Thwarting Indian Atrocities in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir”. The aim of the Conference was to stimulate the International Human Rights Organizations to accentuate the applicability of International Humanitarian Laws in Kashmir.
The Conference commenced with the opening remarks of Major General Syed Khalid Amir Jaffery, HI(M), (Retd), President CGSS who welcomed the participants of the session. He stated that the Kashmir conflict must be addressed by the International community.
His Excellency Sardar Masood Khan, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir stated that the threefold responsibility of the charter of UN is to promote and protect peace, promote and protect human rights, and economic development and the wellbeing of the nations of the world. When we talk about human right instruments the core right is the right to self-determination which was recognized in 1945. However, the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir has been denied for the past 73 years despite the passage of a dozen of UNSC resolutions. Other instruments including the Universal declaration of human rights, the 2 covenants; the covenant on civil and political rights; and the academic, social and cultural rights also refer to the right of self-determination. Then there are conventions against torture, against disappearance, discrimination against women or racial discrimination and so on. All these instruments are being violated blatantly by the Indian forces in Jammu & Kashmir. In fact the Indian government has enforced laws like the Armed Forces Special Power Act or the Public Safety Act which give cover to all the crimes against humanity which are committed by the occupational forces against the unarmed civilians in Kashmir. He mentioned that ethnic genocides, culture invasion & other crimes against humanity are being committed by India that require immediate action.
Ms. Shireen Mazari, Federal Minister of Human Rights, Government of Pakistan stated there are different aspects to the Kashmir Dispute, first is the conflict resolution through United Nations Security Council resolution through a plebiscite which will be a just solution for the people of Kashmir. In the contemporary times, human rights violation has become central to various countries across the globe than why India has never been questioned for violating human rights in the Indian Occupied Kashmir which has been ongoing since 1948. India has also undermined the Simla agreement. The siege in IOK still continues, we must take this issue to the UN Forums more strongly. India is moving up the scale of the genocide. India has altered the administrative dynamics. In addition, the demographic changes is a proof that India aims to destroy Kashmiri identity and population by infiltrating Indian citizens to Jammu & Kashmir.
Lord Nazir Ahmed, Baron Ahmed, Member of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom stated that the case of Amnesty International to walk out of India and close its office is the biggest proof of Indian harassment and violation of human rights. India is not a democracy anymore. India does not have good relations with its neighbors. It is almost at war with China, Nepal and Bangladesh. Even Sri Lanka is not happy with India. The Government of Pakistan must organize a Regional Peace Conference and initiate massive campaigns to highlight to expose the fascist government of India. He further stated that we must have proper platforms like official websites, newspapers, journals and other platforms to tell the world about the ground realities of the Indian oppression in Kashmir.
Mr. Ahmer Bilal Soofi- Former Federal Law Minister stated that through this Conference various areas have been highlighted that required more clarification. He stated that various countries have separate legal divisions comprising of legal experts that advise their Governments on legal matters.
Pakistan can connect to these legal divisions and provide them insights related to violation of human rights in Indian Occupied Kashmir. By developing this network, we can address this issue at international level.
Ms. Maria Iqbal Tarana, Human Right Activist and Former Chairperson Commission for Women, Azad Jammu & Kashmir stated that the Indian atrocities in Kashmir are not ending. We need to knock the doors of international human rights organizations. We need to lobby and campaign and make friends to highlight this issue in international arena. She further stated that stated that India is very openly violating human rights in Kashmir but are not being highlighted internationally.
The Conference was attended by 100 participants and was also streamed live on Facebook. The Conference was moderated by Barrister Waqas Aziz Qureshi, Member Board of Experts, CGSS.