World must not remain indifferent to tragedy unfolding in Kashmir, Qureshi tells UN Rights Council

Posted In: News Date:Sep 10th, 2019

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday said that the international community "must not remain indifferent to the tragedy that is unfolding before our eyes" in occupied Kashmir.

Addressing the 42nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Qureshi while referring to India's recent actions in Kashmir said: "Today, I have knocked on the doors of the Human Rights Council, the repository of the world’s conscience on human rights, to seek justice and respect for the people of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

"We must not allow this august body to be embarrassed on the world stage. As a founding member of this council, Pakistan feels morally and ethically bound to prevent this from occurring," he stressed, adding that in order to do so the body should not remain indifferent to the tragedy that was unfolding in Kashmir.

"We must not let political, commercial, and parochial considerations cloud and impair our thoughts and action.

"We must act decisively and with conviction."

Qureshi urged the UNHRC to "pay heed to the plight of the Kashmiri people" and to address the warning signs of a "looming human catastrophe".

He asked the human rights council to take the following steps:

Urge India to immediately stop the use of pellet guns, end the bloodshed, lift the curfew, reverse the clampdown and communications blackout, restore fundamental freedoms and liberties, release political prisoners, stop targeting human rights defenders, and fulfill obligations under the United Nations Security Council resolutions and various human rights instruments, as required by international law
Take steps to bring to justice the perpetrators of human rights violations of Kashmiris and in this context, constitute a Commission of Inquiry (COI), as recommended by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Authorise the Office of the High Commissioner and the Human Rights Council’s special procedures mandate holders to monitor and report on India’s human rights violations in occupied Kashmir and regularly update the council
Call upon India to allow unhindered access to human rights organisations and international media to occupied Kashmir
India had imposed a military clampdown on Jammu and Kashmir in the first week of August to prevent protests against the New Delhi move to revoke the special status of the disputed territory, with mobile phone networks and the internet still cut off in all but a few pockets. Occupied Kashmir has seen a decades-old movement against the Indian occupation with tens of thousands, mostly civilians, killed.

Kashmiris rights being 'trampled with impunity' by India
At the start of his address today, the foreign minister said that "basic and inalienable human rights" of the people of occupied Kashmir were being "trampled with impunity by India".

"The people of this occupied land are suffering systematic, and serial, violations of their fundamental freedoms," he said, adding that the people of the disputed region had been "virtually caged by an illegal military occupation" for the past six weeks.

"To what end, I ask, Mr President?" Qureshi said addressing the president of the council.

"The answer is obvious. And it lays bare the real character of a country that pretends to be a bastion of democracy, federalism and secularism."

Qureshi provided a review of the situation in occupied Kashmir which he said had been transformed by India into the "largest prison in the planet" where basic amenities and means of communication were not accessible.

He said shops and hospitals in the region were running out of supplies and the political leadership of Kashmir had been placed under house arrest or imprisoned. Additionally, Qureshi said that over 6,000 individuals had been arrested without due process of law.

The foreign minister said that international media outlets and neutral observers were also reporting on the atrocities being carried out against the people of occupied Kashmir.

"No, ladies and gentleman, this is not a flashback to medieval times. This barbarism is happening today — in the 21st century."

He said that with its actions, India was breaching multiple international human rights instruments that it was a party to.

"This is the real story of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir and its people under subjugation that India is desperate to hide from the world. This is the true face of the so-called largest democracy of the world. This is the conduct of a country, which aspires to be a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council."