In a region mired in conflict, it takes all the more courage, and perseverance to be the voice of the voiceless, and to separate facts from propaganda. Help The Kashmir Monitor sustain so that we continue to be editorially independent. Remember, your contributions, however small they may be, matter to us.

Joint Hurriyat writes to UN chief; Urges for establishing commission of inquiry into rights abuses

Srinagar, Dec 10: The Joint Hurriyat Leadership on Monday wrote to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, urging him to establish a ‘commission of inquiry’ to conduct comprehensive and independent international investigation into human rights violations in Kashmir.

The leadership of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Yasin Malik asked the UN secretary general to press upon “New Delhi to stop the gross human rights violation forthwith.”

Joint Hurriyat, according to the letter, also urged him to initiate measures for the resolution of the dispute which is on UN Agenda since 1948, “and is the main cause of all Human Rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.”

“On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, we hope you and the institution of United Nations will stand up for the protection of human rights everywhere including in conflict torn Kashmir. This year is the 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights and today we are again addressing you on behalf of people of Jammu and Kashmir, who for last 70 years have been striving for peace, justice, freedom and dignity,” read the copy of the letter.

It continued: “We greatly acknowledge The UN report on the human rights situation in Kashmir– detailing the human rights violations and abuses and highlights a situation of chronic impunity for violations committed by Indian forces.”

In the letter, the Joint Hurriyat acknowledged UN’s concern and call for “urgent need to address the 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”

To focus international attention on the continued and worsening Human Rights situation people of Kashmir decided to peacefully observe December 3 to 9 as Human Rights Week, the leadership informed the UN Chief in the letter.

“But the repressive and authoritarian state even disallowed that by use of force and even arrested and lodged in jails those participating in candlelight protests! Massive crackdown was launched on the leadership as well as traders, transporter and even businessmen who decided to take out peaceful rallies against the gross human rights situation in Kashmir,” the letter read.

Referring to the 2018 UN report on rights abuses in Kashmir, the Joint Hurriyat said: “One of the most dangerous weapons used against protesters in 2016 – and which is still being employed by security forces – was the pellet-firing shotgun.”

“These fire pellets since then have affected 16000 people in Kashmir and blinded hundreds permanently, the youngest being 18-month-old Hiba who has lost her vision in one eye. Hundreds have suffered serious damage in liver and intestinal region due to pellets. 14% of pellet gun victims in Kashmir are below 15,” read the letter.

The leadership trio wrote that the conflict has consumed hundreds of thousand lives in J&K.

“This year alone 150 Civilians, 241 armed youth and 120 state forces have lost their lives due to the Kashmir conflict. As we write to you yesterday itself on December 09, 2018, two teenagers Mudasir Ahmad Parrey and Saqib Bilal Sheikh—aged 14 and 17 respectively from Hajin area of northern Bandipora district, were killed, seven houses blown up by using mortar shells or improvised explosive device (IED).”

“As your report also mentions the Indian troops operating in the Jammu & Kashmir have been provided legal impunity in the form of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from prosecution for the crimes against humanity committed by them.”

“In the nearly 28 years that the law has been in force in Jammu and Kashmir there has not been a single prosecution of armed forces personnel granted by the central government,” the letter quoting the UN report read.

The letter concluded with: Sir, the conflict on Kashmir is not a frozen one but continues to consume human lives unabatedly since its beginning in 1947 and has become the cause of horrendous human rights violations against the population of the area. We urge you to urgently establish as proposed by the OHCHR a “UN commission of inquiry to conduct comprehensive and independent international investigation into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir,…. to end the cycles of violence and ensure accountability for past and current violations and abuses, and provide redress for victims” and to press upon New Delhi to stop the gross human rights violation forthwith. We also urge you to initiate measures for the resolution of the dispute on Jammu & Kashmir which is on UN Agenda since 1948 and is the main cause of all human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir.