RIGHT TO SELF DETERMINATION DAY FOR THE PEOPLE OF INDIAN OCCUPIED JAMMU & KASHMIR By Sameer Hashmi

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The right to self-determination is a vital component of human dignity. Negation of this right is the negation of human freedom, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Human Rights Covenants. In the post-colonial era, the realization of this inalienable right paved the way for successful culmination of freedom struggles in different parts of the world, including in South Asia.

On Jan. 5, 1949, the UN Security Council passed a resolution supporting the Kashmiris’ right to decide their future by themselves through UN-sponsored plebiscite. On 5 January 1949, the United Nations Commission on India and Pakistan (UNCIP) adopted the resolution that guarantees a free and fair plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir to enable the Kashmiri people realize their right to self-determination.

The 5th of January is commemorated every year as the Right to Self-Determination Day for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The global community should not shy away from their responsibility towards the Kashmiri people. The United Nations must honour its commitments which were made 71 years ago.

Indian occupied Kashmir has been under lockdown since Aug 5, 2019, when New Delhi abolished the special status of the region. Since August 05, 2019, through continuous illegal and unilateral steps, the Indian government has created an environment of fear and chaos in the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir. More than 515 days of lockdown and absence of fundamental freedoms have challenged the conscience of international community and India’s credentials of being a respectable member of the comity of nations. Indian actions have been widely rejected by the international community, the United Nations, and international human rights organizations.

People of Kashmir are being subjected to collective punishment by Indian forces who have converted the territory into the largest militarized zone in the world. The current situation in IOJ&K is the worst in recent history where people have been deprived of their fundamental rights, including rights to life, food, health, freedom of expression and assembly, as well as self-determination. The people of IOJ&K are being subjected to collective punishment by Indian occupation forces who have converted the territory into the largest militarized zone in the world.

It is the obligation of the world to force India to abide by the UN Security Council resolutions and give Kashmiris right to self-determination.

The importance of the inalienable right to self-determination has been acknowledged in all important human rights Covenants and decisions of the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. Due to Indian intransigence, the Security Council has failed to fulfill its pledge to the Kashmiri people.

Around 900,000 Indian forces have converted the region into the largest prison in the world.

Kashmir dispute has been duly described by the UN Security Council as “the greatest and the gravest single issue in international affairs” and that its resolution demanded expedition, urgency and immediacy.

The Right to Self Determination Day is being observed by the people of Jammu and Kashmir on the both sides of the ceasefire line as a reminder to the international community including the United Nations of its commitment to provide Kashmiris their basic right.
Even after over seven decades the Jan 5 resolution passed in the UN Security Council in 1949 provides a peaceful and durable solution for the long-standing Kashmir dispute. India could not deny the legitimacy and authenticity of the UN resolutions that formed the basis of the Kashmir dispute and guaranteed its peaceful settlement as per the Kashmiris’ aspirations. But so far UN has failed to implement its own resolution, its time that  international community should play its role in ensuring basic rights including the right of self-determination to the oppressed Kashmiris.

International organizations meant to safeguard human rights and promote peace in the world should stand up for the subjugated people of occupied Kashmir at a time when Indian regime led by Narendra Modi is making every effort to change the disputed status of J&K and bring about a demographic change through ethnic cleansing of Muslims and later settling non-Kashmiris there. New Delhi’s August 5, 2019 illegal and unilateral actions stand witness to this.

Indian authorities are keeping thousands of Kashmiri in illegal detention and prisoners are languishing in jails in and outside occupied Kashmir. India continue to abuse and violate rights of the Kashmiri prisoners by placing them in worst living conditions inside jails. These prisoners are even deprived of basic rights like medical care and judicial help. This mistreatment and abuse of the Kashmiri prisoners is part of India’s aggressive and repressive policy against the Kashmiris. It is professional and moral commitment of international human rights bodies to speak over the mistreatment of the Kashmiri prisoners.

The resolutions passed by the United Nations Security Council on Jammu and Kashmir legitimize the struggle of the Kashmiri people to achieve their right to self-determination. These resolutions are testimony to the fact that the Indian occupation of Jammu and Kashmir was unjustified, illegal and against all norms and standards of the international law. It is also duty of international community particularly the United Nations to hold an impartial plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir so that the Kashmiris can decide their future themselves.

The people of occupied Kashmir had been deprived of all basic rights at gunpoint and the world should prevent India from pursuing the policy of suppression in the territory.

India cannot succeed in holding the people of Kashmir against their will by the use of brute force. India shall have to return to Resolutions of 13th August 1948 and 5th January 1949, because these two resolutions have won the express agreement of both India and Pakistan.

Government of India has to vacate its political vandalism, military aggression and cultural invasion, in Jammu and Kashmir. Consent of the people is the basis of any legitimacy of governance and India has lost it. Government of India has to yield to “the ultimate objective of a fair and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations”.

India had made statement at the 533rd meeting of the UN Security council held on March 01, 1951 stating that, “The people of Kashmir are not mere chattels to be disposed of according to a rigid formula; their future must be decided in their own interests and in accordance with their own desires”. Now India should vacate her occupation and imprisonment of the people and allow the people of Jammu and Kashmir, to set up a responsible Government as designated by the UN for holding a free, secure and impartial plebiscite.

Life remains hard in occupied Kashmir, with hundreds of checkpoints in place and internet coverage patchy and slow. The economic effect has been dire while coronavirus lockdown measures have only added to the hardship.

Security operations against Kashmiri fighters have accelerated, putting 2020 on course to be one of the bloodiest years for some time. According to a rights group report in July, Indian-occupied Kashmir had seen at least 229 killings during more than 100 military operations since January. It also saw 55 internet shutdowns and the destruction of 48 structures, the report by the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society said.

India has also granted tens of thousands of people from outside the region the same rights as Kashmiris, meaning they can now buy land for the first time — a move critics and residents say is an attempt to change the demographic makeup of the region.

In December 2020, an alliance of Kashmiri parties opposed to the state’s annexation by India last year has poised to sweep local body polls against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, and it is a verdict to reverse New Delhi’s arbitrary rule in the region.

President-elect of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly Volkan Bozkir, during his visit to Pakistan has also stressed the importance of a peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute for regional peace and security and offered to mediate between arch-rivals India and Pakistan. He said “Resolving dispute over Jammu and Kashmir is the key to a sustainable peace in South Asia. Regional security should be maintained through regional and diplomatic solutions,”

The Biden campaign’s foreign policy adviser, Antony Blinken has said that Biden administration has made promise to raise the issue of Kashmir with India and would also convey its concerns on a recent Indian law that discriminates against Muslims.

UN and World community should 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.

UN should 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.

UN should authorize 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.

UN should call upon India to allow unhindered access to human rights organizations and international media to occupied Kashmir.

Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control and the world over observed the Right to Self-Determination Day, with the pledge that they would continue the struggle for settlement of the Kashmir dispute through a free and fair plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations.

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Disclaimer: RIGHT TO SELF DETERMINATION DAY FOR THE PEOPLE OF INDIAN OCCUPIED JAMMU & KASHMIR By Sameer Hashmi - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view

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