Universal declaration of human rights and Kashmiris | By Dr Muhammad Khan

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Universal declaration of human rights and Kashmiris

Human Rights Day is observed world-wide on 10th of December each year. On this day, ‘The Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ (UDHR) was adopted by United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

UDHR has mandated itself to protect the human rights of every individual world-wide irrespective of state, region, colour, creed or religion.

The salient features of the declaration are; equality of everyone before the law, protection against arbitrary arrest, the right to life and a fair trial, the right to own property; freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; freedom of opinion and expression; and freedom of peaceful assembly.

It also secures the socio-economic rights, cultural rights, right to work, the right to an adequate standard of living and right to education and health facilities.

Whereas, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights demand securing the right of everyone without discrimination, the Kashmiris of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) are undergoing all forms of discriminations, tyranny, suppression and brutalities of Indian occupation forces since last over seventy-five years.

There are no human rights of Kashmiris secured under Indian occupation in IIOJK. Indeed, the Kashmiris of IIOJK are facing genocide, displacement, detention, rapes, siege and clamp-down in their own state and motherland.

Now their land is being given to non-Kashmiris from various Indian states after undoing the special state of IIOJK in August 2019.

Under the Indian occupation, the land and properties of Kashmiris are being snatched to inhabit non Kashmiri Hindus for making demographic changes.

This act of making demographic changes falls in the category of serious crimes against humanity and a grave violation of human rights.

Contrary to the declaration, in IIOJK there are no human rights of the Kashmiri Muslims. They are humiliated, tortured, killed and their women folks are raped only because they are Muslims and demand their right of self-determination.

There are no laws for the Kashmiris, except the will of Indian security forces. Security forces have complete impunity to arrest Kashmiris, detain or kill any Kashmir Muslim at will.

No one in IIOJK has the right to life, liberty or fair trial. Kashmiris of IIOJK cannot imagine the freedom of thoughts, opinion, expression or freedom of peaceful assembly to even meet each other.

Kashmiricultural rights, their identity and right to education and health facilities are out of question in IIOJK.

The spirit of UDHR was to attain and proclaim “a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations”.

This aspect seems unlikely to be fulfilled in the case of IIOJK. It is worth mentioning that in last three years, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has highlighted the massive human rights violation in IIOJK more than once.

In its Press briefing on October 29, 2019, Mr Rupert Colville, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has highlighted the post August 5, 2019 human rights situation in IIOJK, which is under siege since then.

OHCHR criticized the state of curfew imposed by India in IIOJK. The curfew is indeed, “preventing the free movement of people, as well as hampering their ability to exercise their right to peaceful assembly, and restricting their rights to health, education and freedom of religion and belief.

” OHCHR has also highlighted the human right abuses, excessive use of force including the use of pellet-firing shotguns, tear gas and rubber bullets by security forces during sporadic protests by Kashmiri youth.

Very less is known on account of actual killings, torture, arrests and rapes in IOK, since there is total clampdown in entire occupied state.

OHCHR has shown its serious concerns over the Indian Army “threatening residents” to pose for the normalcy in their businesses and routine once asked to show to international community.

As per international law, “Torture is totally and unequivocally prohibited. ” nevertheless, Kashmiris of IIOJK are facing this globally prohibited act on daily basis.

In June 2018, in its 49-page report, OHCHR gave details of details human rights violations and abuses in IIOJK.

It was the first ever report issued by the UN on the human rights situation in the state. It was clearly mentioned in that report that, Kashmir conflict has robbed millions of (Kashmiris) “their basic human rights, and continues to this day to inflict untold suffering.

” In that detail report, guarantees were sought for ending the cycles of violence in IIOJK.

That report asked UN for the establishment of a fair commission of inquiry to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigation into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir.

Starting from UN resolutions of 1948 and 1949, India relegates and discards all reports about its brutalities in IIOJK.

On July 8, 2019, another report was initiated by OHCHR, criticizing the Indian Government for continued human rights violations in IOK and failure of UN and major powers for not establishing a commission of inquiry, demanded in its 2018 report.

India was encouraged by procrastination of major powers, international community and above all the UN over the OHCHR reports about the ground realities in IIOJK.

In its reports, OHCHR has criticized the communication and internet disconnection in IOK, highlighting that, “Media outlets continue to face undue restrictions” with dozens of local journalists arrested and many youth killed.

The brutalized and besieged Kashmiris of IIOJK demandan end of Indian massive human rights violations in the occupied state.

They also demand a practical role of United Nations and international community to end their sufferings at the hands of brutal Indian security forces.

Kashmiri desires that, there should be practical implementation of the UN resolutions and ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ in Indian Occupied Kashmir in their entirety.

In the absence of their practical implementation, UN resolutions, UDHR, international law and other covenants would remain elusive for the people of IIOJK.

United Nations, major powers and civilized international community must treat Kashmiris at par with rest of humanity at least in the context of human rights in their own state.

— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.