Kashmiri leader Ishtiyaq Hameed at UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

SPECIAL REPORT | Tuesday | 8 March 2011 | UN Human Rights Council

GENEVA, Switzerland-A senior leader of Kashmiri freedom movement has accused India of blocking a probe by European Parliament into mass graves in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

Mr. Ishtiyaq Hameed, a member of All Parties Hurriyet Conference [APHC], reminded delegates of governments and NGOs that UN resolutions do not expire with time, reminding the international community of its commitments to helping Kashmiris determine their future and destiny in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.

Mr. Hameed was speaking at an event on the sidelines of the 16th session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. UN’s Human Rights Council is designed along the lines of UN Security Council in Geneva without the powers.

The Kashmiri leader was invited to address international delegates at a seminar titled, ‘Consequences of the Denial of the Right To Self-Determination’, held today at Palais de Nations, the headquarters of UN operations in Geneva.

Here is the full text of Mr. Hameed’s speech:

Consequences of The Denial of the Right to Self-Determination

“Mr. President, Panelists, Ladies and gentlemen,

The right to self determination of peoples is a fundamental principle in international law. It is embodied in the charter of the United Nations and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Common Article 1, Paragraph One of these covenants provides that:

“All peoples have the right of self determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

Mr. President,

Today’s topic of this seminar, Consequences of the Denial of Right to Self-Determination, is a very interesting subject, but not for Kashmiris, because the sufferings of Kashmiris for more than 63 years, as a result of the denial of the right to self determination, has caused the loss of lives of more than half a million people. Kashmiris disappeared in thousands, dignity of women and loss of property is a daily routine for Kashmiris at the hands of Indian occupation forces. Unfortunately, right to self determination is not on the agenda of Human Rights Council. But the issue of Jammu and Kashmir has special status because the UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu & Kashmir are consensus documents, where Pakistan and India are signatories. And these resolutions are still pending for implementation.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The United Nations Security Council resolutions are never old. They are effective unless there is a new resolution to supersede the existing one on Jammu and Kashmir which is recognized as disputed territory and almost all the member states of the United Nations accept this, except India and a couple of other states.

The denial of this right for the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir has affected all the regions and religions, and every individual living within the state is displaced on either side of Line of Control. If we discuss the consequences of this denial then let’s remember the massacres of 1947 and 1965, and also remember the atrocities, oppression and suppression by Indian occupation forces in Valley of Kashmir since 1989 till now. While more than 100,000 men and women have been killed by the Indian security forces, we also have more than 12,000 disappearances that have been documented by the organizations like Association of

Parents of Disappeared Persons [APDP], Coalition of Civil Society, International Peoples Tribunal, while unmarked mass graves have been found in different parts of the valley. Peaceful protesters from the age of 8-year-old boy Milad to a 90-year-old man have been brutally killed by the Indian occupation forces.

The European Parliament has passed a resolution for an independent credible investigation of the issue of mass graves. But the Indians, instead of cooperation with the international community, international organizations, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, still detain human rights defenders under Public Safety Act, National Security Act, and Armed Forces Special Powers Act [AFSPA]. These draconian, laws, also known as Black Laws, are contrary to international human rights standards.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I myself belong to the Valley of Kashmir. I got Masters degree from Kashmir University. I had to leave the Valley of Kashmir, my family, my beloved homeland, my birthplace, my childhood friends, when I felt that I will be the next one to be killed by Indian security forces, or detained or tortured as other human rights defenders are treated there. I decided to take the risk of leaving the valley of death, otherwise known as Paradise on Earth.

I thank you, Mr. President.”