London, December 12, 2018 (PPI-OT): A declaration unanimously passed at a conference in London called for cessation of all forms of state violence in occupied Kashmir and the respect for all human rights and fundamentals, demanding that a fact-finding mission be sent to evaluate the most disturbing situation in the territory.
The conference was jointly organised by South Asia Centre for Peace and Human Rights (SACFPHR), International Council for Human Rights (ICHR) and Kashmir Youth Assembly UK and Europe in Luton Town Hall, UK, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the International Human Rights Day.
Preceding the conference, a candle light vigil was held at the Town Hall while the cabinet was in session. The event was organised to express solidarity with the victims of Kashmir, particularly with 18-month-old Hiba and 14-year-old Mudassir, the latest victims of Indian state terrorism. Kashmiri diaspora leadership addressed the gathering.
A message from UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, in which he honoured human rights defenders was played to a packed audience. He stated that human rights, in general, are under siege around the world and the rule of law being undermined. He encouraged everyone to stand up for human rights everywhere, mentioning that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a global beacon shining a light of dignity, equality and well-being, bringing hope to dark places.
Kashmiri diaspora leader, Barrister Abdul Majeed Tramboo, conveyed the need for strong and responsible leadership connected with the ground in occupied Kashmir, declaring that multiple narratives have damaged the cause of Kashmir in power corridors around the world. He lamented at the nature of activities often being described as a circus shown by some influential offices in the UK and Europe. He informed the audience to not lose hope and that progress has been made in governmental and non-governmental organisations to make Kashmir a priority on their agenda, referring to the recent reports published by the UN Humans Rights Commissioner, the British All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir and statements made by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Professor Nazir Ahmad Shawl concluded the event by passionately conveying the ground realties of Kashmir and the suffering of the victims of this 71-year-old conflict at the hands of a repressive Indian regime. He criticised the illegal and draconian laws used in Kashmir by the Indian state, terming them as a blot on India’s democracy. Condemning the cordon and search operations in Kashmir by Indian paramilitary forces, Professor Shawl asserted that India’s policy is clear, to commit genocide in Kashmir by eliminating any form of dissent based on suspicion alone.
He affirmed support to the women and youth of Kashmir and especially towards the diaspora, maintaining that pressure can only be built when the correct strategies are enforced. He appreciated the efforts of the members of Azad Kashmir community and asked them to continue supporting indigenous leadership of occupied Kashmir who would be able to better guide and advocate Kashmir’s basic human right, the right to self-determination.
Zubair Awan, Chairman Kashmir Youth Assembly, referred to the “Doval Doctrine” and explained India’s policy to dilute the freedom struggle by directly targeting the youth in Kashmir and mercilessly killing them. He stated that in occupied Kashmir, there is no space for dissent and even the click of a button on Facebook has landed young innocent Kashmiris in prison.
Muzammil Ayyub Thakur stated that India is in contravention of every single Article of the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights. He added that the strength and resilience of the women of Kashmir and the sacrifices of the youth were the backbone of Kashmir’s struggle for the right to self-determination. In his concluding remarks, Muzammil implored the audience to not let the efforts of predecessors to go waste, encouraging them to involve, educate and motivate the next generation to carry the movement forward.
Councillor Tom Shaw conveyed the Council members support for the oppressed, occupied and subjugated people of the world, especially Kashmir.
Councillor Raja Aslam, a cabinet portfolio holder, spoke about the need for adaptive strategy to counter the Indian lobby which has spread false propaganda against Kashmir.
Councillor Waheed Akbar, also a cabinet portfolio holder, stressed the need for diverse people to join the Kashmir cause from other conflict zones to strengthen each other’s movements and activities.
Asma Rathore and Riaz Butt voiced their concerns about the human rights abuses by Indian troops in occupied Kashmir.
Others who spoke included Pakistan International Human Rights Organisation Chairman, Chaudhry Abdul Aziz, and Muslim Conference Convenor, Amjad Abbasi.
Before concluding remarks and vote of thanks from Sheraz Khan and Ayub Rathore, Professor Nazir Ahmed Shawl proposed a declaration, which was unanimously accepted, that all forms of state violence should stop in occupied Kashmir and the respect for all human rights and fundamentals be ensured, further adding that a fact-finding mission must be sent to evaluate the most disturbing situation in the occupied territory. The declaration concluded by welcoming Pakistan’s peace diplomacy and hoped the world community will endorse it for ensuring peace in South Asia.
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