British Parliament to debate APPKG’s Kashmir HR report on Feb 4
Srinagar, Jan 30: The House of Commons in United Kingdom will debate the inquiry report by the British Parliamentarians’ All-Party Parliamentary Kashmir Group (APPKG) on human rights situation in both parts of Jammu and Kashmir on February 4.
The report will be debated in the House of Commons on February 4 and a related exhibition will be held in London on February 5. APPKG report was released in October 2018.
The Group, headed by British MP Chris Leslie, in its report has recommended repealing of the infamous Armed Forces (Jammu And Kashmir) Special Power Act, 1990 thus enabling prosecution of armed forces and forces personnel in the civilian judicial system and immediate ban on the use of pellet firing shotguns.
It also recommends that the Government of Jammu and Kashmir must provide a strict and limited statutory basis for administrative detention powers, in line with international legal principles, by repealing or amending the Public Safety Act (PSA), 1978.
The report calls for a “comprehensive public investigation into the identities of bodies in mass and unmarked graves, with an independent forensic verification process and also provide for full freedom of information mechanism for the families of suspected victims of enforced disappearance.”
“The Government of Jammu and Kashmir must open its prisons to international inspection and the government of India and Pakistan should work to resume regularized visa-regulated civilian travel across the Line of Control and reunite separated families.”
In his foreword, Leslie writes: “Violations, most egregiously in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), frame everyday life for millions of Kashmiris. Excessive state violence, systematized by a legal framework which grants near-wholesale impunity to those responsible, is routine; its severity is well-documented independently and borne out by the breadth and detail of credible submissions made to the APPKG; it is, in sum, a reality that warrants far greater attention than it receives.”
He further writes, “Two immediate points of context have overshadowed this inquiry. The first, dispiritingly, is the continuing cycle of violence set in motion by the killing of the 22-year-old Burhan Wani in July 2016. In a now-familiar sequence of events, protests are followed by disproportionate and bloody reprisals, inducing further and more widespread waves of discontent in which previously apathetic Kashmiris are invested at significant personal risk. The cumulative human cost is immense, and the “establishment of durable peace” anticipated by the Simla Agreement in 1972 could hardly be more imperative than it is today. To this end, seriousness about upholding human rights – beginning, crucially, with honesty on the part of both India and Pakistan about how Kashmiris’ rights are now disregarded – will be of foundational importance.”
“The second point of context is therefore hugely welcome: the release, in June 2018, of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ (OHCHR) comprehensive report on recent developments in Kashmir. Their report incorporates both a thorough analysis of the widespread violations in Indian-Administered J&K over the past two years, and a clear-eyed look at the failings that continue to mar governance from a human rights standpoint in Pakistani-Administered Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan,” Leslie writes in his foreword.