Altaf Hamid Rao
Geneva: Kashmiri human rights defenders from Azad and Indian-occupied territories urged India and Pakistan to open the disputed territory to international investigators.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raâ€™ad al-Hussein had made UN history of some sorts when he broke international silence a year ago and included Kashmir in the top annual human rights agenda of United Nations. But in the four sessions of UN Human Rights Council since September 2016 and until September 2017, the High Commissioner has complained that New Delhi and Islamabad have not given access to UN investigators who want to assess the human rights situation on both sides of the temporary ceasefire line in Kashmir known as Line of Control.
Pakistan has said it is ready to welcome a UN team in Azad Kashmir when a similar team lands in the Indian-occupied territory. Kashmiri activists urged both countries to comply with UN request but emphasized how massive and glaring human rights violations are concentrated in the territory under Indian army occupation.
Syed Faiz Naqshbandi, Convener of All-Parties Hurriyet Conference Pakistan chapter said, â€œThere is grim situation of human rights in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir where on the one hand, India does not allow UN fact finding team to visit Kashmir as said by the High Commissioner for Human Rights and on the other, the armed forces of India enjoy impunity Confession before a police officer stands declared a valid confession in the Indian Evidence Act.â€
Naqshbandi raised the issue of the illegal detention of APHC leadership Mirwaiz Dr. Umar Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Gillani, and Yasin Malik. Mrs. Shamim Shawl, senior womenâ€™s leader at APHC, in her statement in front of High Commissioner Zeid Al-Hussein, welcomed the High Commissionerâ€™s statements where â€œIndian and Pakistan were asked to give access to fact finding missions to ascertain the human rights situations on the both sides of line of control.â€
Mrs. Shawl praised UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for singling out India on treatment of minorities. â€œMy organization is also thankful to the office of the high commissioner for showing its dismay over the rise of intolerance towards religious and other minorities in India,â€ she said.
Senior APHC leader Parvez Ahmad Shah Advocate welcomed UN Human Rights Councilâ€™s emphasized on sending fact-finding missions to AJK and IOK. â€œMy organization supports the high commissioners continued demand from Indian and Pakistani governments for sending fact finding missions on both sides of Line of Control.â€
During the recent update,â€ Shah said, â€œthe high commissioner has again emphasized for sending missions. The states must cooperate with the UN procedures and mandate holders to unfold the truth which will on one hand expose the claims of the states for the wrongdoings and on the other hand will assist in satisfying the victims to know the reality and the fate of their loved ones especially the enforcedly disappeared persons in Jammu and Kashmir.â€
Prof. Shagufta Ashraf, from AJK, welcomed UN decision to send fact-finding teams to AJK and IOK. â€œI welcomed the statements made by High Commissioner in last 2 consecutive HRC’s session when both the governments of India and Pakistan were being asked to give access to fact finding missions to ascertain the human rights situations on the both sides of line of control.â€
Recalling Indiaâ€™s refusal to grant access to its team, Ashraf welcomed UNâ€™s decision to create a remote monitoring mechanism for rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir. â€œIn such circumstances, Mr. President, It is imperative and I appreciate that his office is undertaking remote monitoring of the human rights situation in Kashmir on both sides of the Line of Control to expose the real face of occupation forces who have been running slaughtering machine in J&K for decades,â€ Ashraf said.
Quoting an expression being used at the UN on Burma, Ashraf said the situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir â€œseems a textbook example of systemic genocide.â€
Nine Member Kashmiri delegation is led by Kashmir rights activists Altaf Hussain Wani.