World urged to protect human rights in occupied Kashmir

Brussels, December 09, 2016 (PPI-OT): Speakers at a seminar in the European Parliament in Brussels have urged the international community to protect the rights of the people in occupied Kashmir.

The seminar was organised by Kashmir Council European Union (KCEU) and International Council for Human Development (ICHD) in connection with the International Human Rights Day. International Human Rights Day is observed every year on December 10. In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The seminar, “December 10: The Reminder for Human Rights in Kashmir” was held in two sessions. The first session was moderated by member of European Parliament (MEP), Sajjad Karim, while the second one was moderated by member of European Parliament, Raja Afzal Khan. Beside them, MEP Amjad Bashir, Chairman of KCEU, Ali Raza Syed, and former Ambassador of EU, Anthony Crasner, also spoke on the occasion.

MEP Dr Sajjad Karim in his address said that the European Union had already emphasized involvement of Kashmiris in any dialogue process on the Kashmir dispute.

Raja Afzal Khan, MEP, highlighted the gross human rights violations being perpetrated by Indian troops in occupied Kashmir. He said, people in the occupied territory are deprived of freedom of speech and even worship and they are being targeted by pellet guns. He said, peace and prosperity in South Asia were not possible without a proper resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

Amjad Bashir, MEP, expressing grave concerns over the human rights violations in occupied Kashmir said, Kashmir dispute cannot be resolved by bilateral talks and international facilitation is necessary for its settlement. He also called upon the European Union to keep in mind the human rights issue in Kashmir while taking any decision on free trade agreement with India. He told the participants about a recent report of US-based organization Physicians for Human Rights (PRH) on Kashmir.

Ali Raza Syed in his speech said that Indian forces were involved in thousands of cases of human rights abuses including extrajudicial killings, torture and enforced disappearances in occupied Kashmir.

Referring a report on recent uprising in occupied Kashmir, Ali Raza Syed said that over 100 people had been killed during the past over five months and most of them were under 30 years of age. Raising the issue of Indian firing and shelling on residents of Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), he said that 47 residents of AJK including passengers of a bus were killed in Indian shelling on the areas near the LoC. Even ambulances in AJK’s border areas also came under Indian troops’ attacks, he added.

Ambassador Anthony Cresnor called for close connection between Kashmiri and European youth. He also asked the international community to ensure the protection of the rights of the people of Kashmir.

Expressing concern over the sharp rise in human right violations committed by Indian forces against the Kashmiris, other speakers said that India had unleashed a reign of terror by committing state terrorism throughout occupied Kashmir to suppress Kashmiris’ peaceful liberation movement.

They also said that India had been criminally involved in genocide of Kashmiris for the last seven decades but the international community had immorally remained mute on the shocking situation in the occupied territory.

The seminar was attended by a large number of people from different walks of life including EU officials, parliamentarians, intellectuals, experts, human rights activists and media persons.

The speakers called upon the UN Human Rights Council, EU institutions, and other world bodies, particularly international human rights organizations, to pay attention to the large scale crimes against humanity in occupied Kashmir. “They must pressurize India to stop the violence, and hand over the culprits involved in the human rights abuses to the International Criminal Court,” they added.

The participants also expressed sorrow over the tragic incident of a plane crash in Pakistan. They observed silent for one minute as symbol of condolence on the deaths and expressed solidarity with the families of the deceased persons.

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