British Member of Parliament Debbie Abrahams reacting to UK government’s response to the letter of All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Kashmir about the protection of human rights in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) has said that human rights must not be traded for economic gains.
According to Kashmir Media Service, MP Abrahams in a tweet posted on her social media account referred to the February 1, 2021 letter she received from the UK Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth and said, “The Govt has responded to the APPG on Kashmir’s letter about the protection of fundamental human rights on Kashmir in any future trade deals with India, ahead of the PM’s visit.”
Human rights must not be traded for economic gains. We will monitor and hold the Govt to account on this,” she maintained in her tweet.
The UK Minister of State for South Asia and the Minister responsible for Human Rights, in his letter addressed to MP Abrahams – which also posted in her tweet, said, “While we believe that trade is vital for our economy and future prosperity, this in no way compromises our commitment of holding human rights at the core of our foreign policy”. He said, “We will not pursue trade to the exclusion of human rights. We regard both as an important part of a deep, mature and wide-ranging relationship with our partners.”
The Minister of State further said that, “We continue to follow the situation in Kashmir closely and have requested permission for officials of our High Commission in New Delhi to visit as soon as possible”.
“We remain concerned by reports of ceasefire violation…over the Line of Control. We urge both sides to exercise restraint and improve channels of communication,” he added.
The Minister of State, however, added that the longstanding position of the UK was that “it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political resolution on Kashmir, taking into account wishes of the Kashmiri people.”
“The UK has been clear on the importance of stability in South Asia, urging all parties to refrain from action that could jeopardize this,” he added. The UK Minister of State in his letter further said that “We are in regular contact with the Government of India and Pakistan”.
“The Prime Minister [Boris Johnson] has underlined to both Prime Minister Modi of India and Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan the importance of resolving issues through dialogue,” he maintained.—KMS