Imprisoned humanity | By Dr Muhammad Irfan


Imprisoned humanity

Humans throughout history had been victims of inhuman atrocities, but unfortunately not in the hands of aliens but in the hands of other human beings.

Diverging religions, ethnicities, creeds and castes kept humans divided and deprived of basic human rights in one or the other way.

With the passage of time; the developed nations at different times took steps to ensure human rights for their citizens but the issue of detainees and war prisoners was a different one.

According to history, Cyrus the Great, the first king of ancient Persian conquered the city of Babylon in 539 B.C and freed the slaves, gave all people the right to choose their religion, and established racial equity in the society.

His decrees recorded on baked-clay cylinder in Akkadian language in the cuneiform script are recognized as the world’s first charter of human rights.

This idea of human rights then quickly spread to other parts of the world.

Later on, other documents declaring individual rights like the Magna Carta (1215), the Petition of Rights (1628), the US Constitution (1787), the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (1789), and the US Bill of Rights (1791) are the inscribed antecedents to many of the documents on human rights of the current era.

In the 20th century, nations united to establish treaties to protect workers’ rights including their health and safety.

The human rights craving emerged stronger after World War II, after the alleged killing of Jews, Sinti, Romani (gypsies), homosexuals, and disabled persons by Nazi Germany.

Officials from the defeated countries were punished for committing war crimes, crimes against peace and crimes against humanity in the trials held in Nuremberg and Tokyo.

Governments then committed to establishing the UN with the primary goal of supporting international peace and preventing conflict.

The essence of the emerging human rights principles was to ensure that no one ever again is denied life, freedom, food shelter and nationality.

On Dec 10, 1948, the 56 member states of the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights whose preamble expressively affirms that “recognition of the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.

” To devise a mechanism to enforce the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights drafted two treaties: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and its Optional Protocol and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

Besides, United Nations has adopted more than 20 principles that further elaborate on human rights.

This universal declaration of human rights is the indiscriminate call to freedom and justice for people around the globe.

However, despite this international level recognition and ratification, the gross violations of human rights abuses could not stop.

United Nations and the International community have always short fallen of their pledges and commitments to the human rights.

Among other nations, India and Pakistan are also signatories of the ICCPR and ICESCR.

Despite being signatories; nations that matter opt to raise the concerns of human rights on either political grounds or driven by economic interests.

Especially, the human rights violations wherein victims were Muslims; have never been a grave concern for the western developed nations to the extent of bringing a change.

Nearly a dozen considerable UN resolutions on Kashmir could not deter Indian oppression and gross human rights violations of the Kashmiris.

They have seen over 7 decades of oppression at the hands of Indian security forces. Extra judicial killings, rapes, pellet guns and razing of their residences continued unabated for over half-century.

Since 05 Aug 2019, the Indian-occupied Kashmir became an open jail for the inhabitants. They are under constant military siege for the last nearly 3 years, but there is no considerable voice that could change their fate.

Now, India is trying to hold the G20 summit to support its baseless claims of normalcy in India.

Earlier, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the valley under strict security arrangements to garner maximum support for the delimitation commission that was constituted to support the Indian government’s efforts for demographic change in the valley.

The new move of holding the G20 summit in IIOJK by India is the result of the apathy of the international community on sheer denial of the rights of Kashmiris by India for the last nearly three years.

Almost no considerable voice on the international level was raised on the abrogation of the special status of Jammu & Kashmir by revocation of the Articles 35-A and 370 of the Indian Constitution and illegally making it a Union Territory of India.

This ennui of the international community has emboldened India to propose the G20 summit in the occupied territory.

Kashmir is an internationally recognized disputed territory and has also been present on the agenda of the UN for decades.

There are no legal grounds for India for such a proposal of holding the G20 summit on an internationally recognized disputed territory.

It is almost similar to Israeli step of shifting embassies to Jerusalem, a disputed territory.

Now it is up to the G20 countries how they would respond to the Indian proposal, would they concede their moral standards to the vested economic interests.

Would G20 countries endorse this injustice and the gross human rights violations in the valley?

Would they ignore the 18 UN resolutions on the issue? The imprisonment of political leadership, the incardinated youth, the extra-judicial killing, the illegal delimitation commission, nothing valid enough to awake the conscience of the international community?

Would India succeed to avert the attention of the international community from the human rights violations and lure it to economic interests?

Are UN resolutions, Geneva Convention and other human rights treaties are mere words that mean nothing?

Would the imprisoned humanity would remain imprisoned and the leading nations of the world would simply ignore them?

A kibosh of not attending any summit in the disputed territory is most desirable step by the G-20 countries to stop Indian arrogation on internationally recognize disputed territory.

—The writer is an Islamabad-based media analyst and quasi-columnist.


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