IIOJK: A Call for Global Action on International Human Right Day 2023
We are living in a very different world today. Yet on one side we are much enlightened with the human rights but on the other we see the deliberate violations of them. We are caught in a dynamic reversible world, where, when some take few steps forwards, other moves backward. The adoption of United Nations Declaration on Human Rights in 1948 was an unprecedented step for the safeguard of human rights. Those were really peaceful days of decolonization, but the same days put a question mark on rights of some like where will they get their rights? These are the people in conflict-ridden areas. Even within a state, upholding fundamental rights is not so easy. In conflict areas it becomes extremely difficult, as it almost impossible to create consensus between the parties to the conflict. And when one party seems to lose control, it becomes aggressive and this insanity ultimately leads to the encroachment of the basic rights.
As the world observes International Human Rights Day on December 10, 2023, attention is drawn to the enduring human rights crisis in the region of IIOJK. The theme, “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All,” constrains the global community to address the persistent violations affecting the people of over the past seven decades. In Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, continuous challenges to basic human rights, from political instability to restrictions on freedom of expression, have persisted for decades. This International Human Rights Day calls for the international community to actively advocate for the principles of dignity, freedom, and justice, placing the rights of the IIOJK people at the forefront, irrespective of political considerations.
Amnesty International’s 2022-2023 report sheds light on the alarming state of freedom of expression in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The report highlights arrests and restrictions on journalists, including prominent figures such as Fahad Shah, Aasif Sultan, and Sajad Gul. The global community is urged to condemn such actions and press for the release of detained journalists and activists. The September 2022, Amnesty International’s report focuses on the concerning human rights situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. It emphasizes the persistent repression of rights and calls for immediate action from the Indian government to address the alarming violations. Amnesty International also calls on the international community to hold the Government of India accountable for its grave human rights violations in IIOJK and ensure its cooperation with United Nations mechanisms, facilitating immediate and independent investigations in the region.
Amnesty International expressed deep concern about the disregard for lives in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, citing a violation of the right to life as laid down in major international human rights treaties.
Reports from various human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations, underscore the urgent need for the international community to act. The first-ever UN human rights report on Kashmir in 2018 called for an international inquiry into multiple violations, emphasizing the severity of the situation and In second report of of UN in 2019, also mentioned mass human rights violation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and called for the formation of a commission of inquiry.
The human rights situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir is a matter of grave concern. The situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir took a critical turn on August 5, 2019, when India stripped the territory of its special disputed status. The revocation of Article 370 has led to a significant deterioration in the human rights situation in the region. The continued detention of minors and elected legislators, the prohibition of public assembly, and the use of surveillance tools like Pegasus are all violations of basic human rights. The excessive use of force by Indian security forces during protests, as highlighted by the OHCHR, demands a review of crowd control techniques and adherence to international standards. The report condemns the lack of justice for historical abuses, including the killing and alleged sexual violence. The obstacles to accountability, such as the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the Public Safety Act, must be addressed to ensure perpetrators are held accountable. The OHCHR report expresses concern over amendments to the Public Safety Act, hindering family visits and legal counsel access. As per report of Kashmir Media Services, since 1989 the number of killings in Kashmir is 96,278, custodial killings is 7,322, meaning that people died while in the custody of Indian troops, 168, 9393 civilians arrested and more Shockingly, the data shows that 1,07,941 children have been orphaned.
The human rights situation in IIOJK is a complex issue that requires a refined understanding of the region’s history, politics, and culture. It is a sensitive topic that has been debated for decades, and there are no easy solutions to the problems faced by the people of IIOJK.
It is essential that the Indian government takes immediate steps to address the human rights situation in IIOJK. The government should release all political prisoners, lift the ban on public assembly, and ensure that the people of IIOJK are not subjected to arbitrary detention or surveillance.
On this International Human Rights Day, we call on the international community for a collective effort to end human rights abuses in Kashmir is not merely a responsibility but a moral duty. It aligns with the principles of dignity, freedom, and justice for all, the very principles that form the foundation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
As the world marks this day, let it serve as a reminder that the pursuit of human rights is a continuous journey that requires support from the global community. The people of IIOJK deserve a future free from oppression, where their fundamental rights are upheld, and justice prevails.
About the writer:
Syed Ali Muneeb is a Communication Strategist at YFK-International Kashmir Lobby Group.