Every year the world observes Human Rights Day on the 10th of December, as it was on this day that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
The human rights situation in occupied Kashmir is deeply concerning, with Indian troops involved in severe violations. Extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, mass rapes, killings, and limits on freedom of expression and media have all been widely reported.
The huge presence of Indian armed forces has frequently been using excessive force, resulting in civilian fatalities and extensive suffering to the innocent people of Kashmir.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch has rightly criticized the decision by the Indian Parliament to pass legislation about the future of Indian Illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir. It is another farce to perpetuate India’s occupation and to deny the people of Jammu and Kashmir their right to self-determination.
Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognized disputed territory, whose final disposition is to be made under the United Nations Security Council resolutions and as per the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. Any other process cannot serve as a substitute for the right of self-determination of the Kashmiri people.
Pakistan has never recognized India’s occupation of Jammu and Kashmir. It has reportedly rejected the relevance of the Indian Constitution to this disputed territory. Pakistan therefore, categorically rejects any measures that perpetuate India’s occupation.
Islamabad will continue to extend political, diplomatic, and moral support to their Kashmiri brothers and sisters for the just and peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute under the UN Security Council resolutions.
The UNSC passed various resolutions during the early years of the conflict. These resolutions made it clear that the people of Kashmir have the right to decide the ultimate fate of their region. These resolutions are well known; however, they remain unimplemented. This leaves the people of Kashmir open to occupation and forced control by the successive authoritarian governments of India.
The conflict in Kashmir began, when India and Pakistan gained independence from British rule, resulting in the formation of two separate nations. The conflict between India and Pakistan began in Jammu and Kashmir, a princely state with a Muslim majority but a Hindu emperor.
Under the partition plan, there were two criteria for division: religion-based territories and geographical contiguity, therefore Muslim-majority areas such as Kashmir had to be part of Pakistan, but the Hindu monarch slowed the process. Because of this, there have been numerous human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, torture, property damage, and rape.
Moreover, most recently, India unilaterally canceled Article 370. The revocation ensured the denial of fundamental rights to Kashmiris, as well as the enormous demographic shift that has already occurred and will occur in the coming years.
Use the UDHR to protect human rights in war zones, hold states accountable for their obligations, promote conflict resolution through mediation and peace talks, and implement advocacy interventions. It should also serve as a means of conflict settlement, particularly in regions like Kashmir, where abuses persist for a long time.
Increased international collaboration and advocacy efforts are necessary to defend against human rights violations of Kashmiris. However, the current political situation suggests that there is no true global solidarity. The issue of Kashmiri and Palestinian liberation should be a top priority on the 75th anniversary of UDHR and International Human Rights Day.
On this International Human Rights Day, the global community must recognize its shared responsibility to address the human rights crisis in Kashmir. The United Nations, in particular, needs to revisit the resolutions and actively engage in facilitating a plebiscite that allows the people of Kashmir to decide their destiny.