Occupied Kashmir and a discredited UN

Saif ur Rehman

More than 72 years ago, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR) on December 10, 1948 which is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.

Whether this declaration has ever been implemented in letter and spirit in any part of the world is a question that still needs to be answered against the specific backdrop of atrocities perpetrated with impunity by Israel in Palestine and in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

Years and years, rather decades, have passed since these two hegemony-loving countries have usurped the lands and trampled the rights to live with freedom and dignity of the people who are lawful claimants to these lands and whose rights have been endorsed by the world bodies including the UN.

As regards the situation in IIOJK, it is one of unending misery with around1.3 million regular and paramilitary troops deployed over there; vested with extrajudicial powers, to subjugate the unarmed Muslim majority simply because they dare raise their voices for the right to self-determination in accordance with UN Security Council the resolutions.

May 21 must also be remembered within this particular context. It was on this date in 1999 when renowned Muslim Kashmiri leader Mirwaiz Farooq Shaheed was martyred by Indian forces.

Exactly 12 years later, on May 21, 2002, another prominent leader of the Kashmiri freedom struggle, Abdul Ghani Lone, was martyred by Indian troops.

In fact, things have not remained confined to a few martyrs. There is a long list. The martyrdom of Burhan Muzaffar Wani, Afzal Guru, Maqbool Bhatt and some others remain fresh in our memories.

Some believe the false narrative that Maqbool Bhatt and Afzal Guru were executed following court convictions – in reality, however, these were clear-cut examples of stage-managed judicial murders.

This tool, judicial murders or else draconian laws which stand in direct conflict with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has been consistently used by Indian hegemons in order to reinforce their perennial policy of usurpation and infringement.

Indian troops stand empowered through the promulgation of draconian laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Disturbed Areas Act, Public Safety Act. Thus, they are free to act as they will against the hapless Kashmiris.

To quote an example (from the said Act): “In a ‘disturbed area’, any Magistrate or police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector or head constable in case of armed branch of the police may, if he is of the opinion that it is necessary so to do for the maintenance of public order, after giving such due warning, as he may consider necessary, fire upon, or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death, against any person who is indulging in any act which may result in serious breach of peace”.

Likewise, some of these laws confer powers on the troops to detain ‘suspects’ (read victims) for longer periods of time, even for a period stretching up to two years.

Reports have come to the surface that suggest the disappearance of hundreds of Kashmiri Muslims after these enforced, illegal detentions.

Some victims are never seen alive again. Instead, the world has become accustomed to the discovery of mass graves.

Even the first-ever UN human rights report on Kashmir (2018) has taken into account the incessant continuity of acts of violence in this region.

The UN Human Rights Office (UNHRO) report says: “There is an urgent need to address 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, besides robbing millions of their basic human rights”.

The UNHRO chief continues: “It is also why I will be urging the UN Human Rights Council to consider establishing a commission of inquiry to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigation into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir”.

He also urged Indian security forces to exercise maximum restraint, and strictly abide by international standards governing the use of force when dealing with protests.

“It is essential the Indian authorities take immediate and effective steps to avoid a repetition of the numerous examples of excessive use of force by security forces in Kashmir.”

Even after the publication of this report as well as media coverage of ongoing brutality in IIOJK, India has never shown any degree of restraint while dealing with innocent Kashmiris who have been under siege for almost two years, suffering a myriad of concomitant miseries.

This rather puts the credibility of the peace-loving world body at stake, since it has miserably failed to uphold its own resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir; especially those requiring a plebiscite to be held to determine the will of the people of Kashmir in accordance with their natural, inalienable right to self-determination. — Courtesy Daily Times
[The writer is a senior journalist and TV analyst]

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