India’s refusal to adhere to international obligations constitutes a criminal offense: Speakers

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Islamabad (Parliament Times):While condemning Indian government’s noncompliance with human rights obligations speakers at a webinar organized by Kashmir Institute of International Relations (KIIR) in collaboration with World Muslim Congress (WMC) has said that the Indian State’s willful denial to adhere to international obligations has led to widespread violence and human rights violation in the Indian held territory of Jammu and Kashmir. “The BJP government’s no response policy to evade replies in cases of human rights violations in Kashmir highlighted by the UN Special rapporteurs in their official communications speak volumes about the apartheid regime’s intentional ignorance and its utter disregard for international law and the UN mechanisms”, the speakers said while addressing a webinar titled “UN Special Rapporteurs Communications and State Response” on the sidelines of 48th sessions of UNHRC, here on Tuesday. The webinar was attended and addressed by noted human rights activists, international law experts, social activists, and academicians including Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani president JKCHR, Dr. Iqtidar Cheema, Julie Ward former MEP, Barrister Tanvir Munim, Robert Fantina, Mary Scully, Advocate Pervez Ahmed Shah, prof. Dr. Shagufta Ashraf and others whereas the event was moderated by the KIIR chairman and WMC permanent representative Mr. Altaf Hussain Wani.

In his initial remarks the KIIR chief mentioned that Almost all the credible outlets of international media and human rights organizations United Nations Special Procedures have been reporting on the reprisals- including killings, torture, intimidation and judicial harassment against activists and journalists, and other mass human rights violation in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. India’s institutional complicity and cover ups is an open secret now but New Delhi is still uninclined to refrain from hiding the its crimes by not responding to the communications send by the Un special rapporteur.

The Speakers said United Nations Special Rapporteurs and Two reports of the OHCHR has raised their alarm over the misuse of these laws but the Indian government unabashedly continues to use these laws to stifle voices of dissent in the region. Underlining the devastating impacts on human rights, they said, “These notorious laws, which grant government of India wide powers with little or no judicial oversight. This includes the ability to order searches, seizures, arrests, and detentions of suspects, with virtual impunity”.

Hailing the four UN special rapporteurs’ official communication to the government of India on the extrajudicial killing of THK chairman Muhammad Ashraf Sahrai, the speakers expressed their dismay over the Indian non-compliance with human rights obligations and its utter disregard to people’s fundamental rights. They said that since 2016 the OHCHR rapporteurs have sent scores of official communications to the government of India asking it to uphold the fundamental rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir but the fascist regime had chosen to stay silent on the issue. This intentional ignorance and the policy of no response reflect the BJP government’s roguish demeanor, denial of access and lack of cooperation with the UN bodies. Since the government of India has failed to take appropriate steps to address the grim situation in the occupied Kashmir, the speakers said that it was incumbent upon the OHCHR to refer the case to a special Committee for consideration of further measures to hold the Indian government accountable.

They pointed out that despite repeated high-level requests the government of India refused to grant permission to have unhindered access to the UN experts to assess the situation on the ground in the IoJK where from reports of increasing violence, civilian casualties, curfews, and internet blackouts continue to pour in with the abundance Condemning the forcible burial of the iconic Kashmiri liberation leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani at the hands of Indian occupation authorities they said, “Respect bodies of the dead and allowing bereaved family to have a decent burial for the dead were the core fundamental obligations of a state but the Modi led apartheid regime, which has turned India into a fascist state, has brazenly violated these obligations”.

“Prevention of lawful and decent burial of a dead body constitutes a crime under the common law”, they said, adding that dignified last rites happen to be a fundamental human right. Urging the international community to take effective cognizance of the Modi government’s high-handedness, they said that it was high time that the civilized world should hold the Indian government accountable for its crimes being committed against Kashmiris.

The speakers further called upon powerful world governments to play their proactive role to stop bloodbath of innocent Kashmiris, to influence the government of India to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of people in the Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, to take urgent action against the Indian government to address the alarming human rights situation in the region and to contribute to the peace and stability of the region by enhancing dialogue with India, Pakistan and the representatives of Kashmiri people.