A representative of student rights group in Turkey delivers a stinging rebuke on Indian assassinations of Kashmiri rights activists.
GENEVA, Switzerland-A Turkish NGO made a touching appeal to world diplomats gathered at the Human Rights Council in Geneva today, urging UN’s highest rights body to “ensure the rights of the people of Indian-occupied Jammu Kashmir.”
The statement was made by Altaf Hussain Wani, an activist for the Turkey-based International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations, IIFSO, which is an NGO registered with the UN in Geneva.
UN’s Human Rights Council is designed along the lines of UN Security Council in Geneva without the powers.
Mr. Wani’s statement came amid heightened activity by pro-Kashmir groups attending the 16th session of the Human Rights Council. Major NGOs attend the session along with governments and diplomats. The Council has recently suspended the membership of Moammar Gadafi’s government.
India’s position on Kashmir received a setback earlier in the day when 17-year-old Aneesa Nabi stunned government and NGO delegates with her appeal to her locate her abducted father. She addressed a seminar at Palais de Nations describing the gory details of how Indian soldiers killed her mother and severely injured her toddler younger brother. Diplomats pledged to contact the Indian government to help locate her father if is alive.
The Turkish NGO representative addressed government delegates in the main meeting hall of UN Human Rights Council. “Despite the tall Indian claims of zero tolerance toward human rights violations, the spree of killings continued in 2010 without a stop,” said Mr. Wani, reading a prepared statement during the general debate at the 16th session of the council.
The NGO drew the council’s attention to the miseries that rights defenders in Kashmir find themselves in.
“Peaceful demonstrations … have been met with unchecked violence by Indian security forces,” said Mr. Wani, adding, “The right to freedom of assembly and expression has been muffed. Indian authorities are deliberately silencing human rights defenders and muzzling the media to keep people in the world ill-informed about the ground situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir.”
“In this scenario, human rights activists … face the danger of losing credibility as human rights defenders” because India stops them from monitoring violations in Kashmir, the Turkish NGO said.
The point that caused the most consternation among delegates were the details of how India has physically eliminated Kashmiri rights activists who used to travel abroad to expose Indian genocide in Kashmir.
The IIFSO representative delivered a stinging comment on Indian assassinations of Kashmiri rights activists.
“Particularly we can mention the names of H. N. Wanchoo, Dr. Abdul Ahad Guru, Dr. Farooq Ashai and noted human rights activist Jalil Andrabi and Pir Hisam-ud-Din,” said Altaf Wani.
“During the last 20 years of conflict, over 100,000 Kashmiris have been killed, over 10,000 disappeared, over 9,000 women raped by Indian soldiers, and all due to immunity enjoyed by military and para-military forces due to draconian laws,” Wani said.
He specifically referred to four Indian laws that allow soldiers to escape with the worst crimes against Kashmiri civilians. These four laws are: Armed Forces Special Powers Act [AFSPA], Public Safety Act [PSA], Jammu and Kasmir Disturbed Area Act [JKDAA], and National Security Act [NSA]
Major international rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have issued special advisories on Indian violations in Kashmir, making India liable to international action on human rights violations, he said.