India asked to halt its atrocities in IOK

Members of EU Parliament call for peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute

Brussels, February 21 (KMS): In a significant development, an overwhelming majority of members of the European Parliament (MEPs) attending a landmark event in Brussels on the rights situation in occupied Kashmir have called on India to immediately put a halt to its atrocities there and carry out investigations into the incidents of grave human rights violations in the territory.

The members said this during a historic hearing on the Kashmir issue conducted by the European Parliament’s sub-committee on human rights in the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday. The event focused on the human rights situation in occupied Kashmir and the plight of the Kashmiri people. The members put their weight behind the recommendations of the 2018 report of the United Nations’ Office of High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) on the state of human rights in the occupied territory and called for their full implementation.

Condemning the prevailing human rights situation in occupied Kashmir, the MEPs highlighted the need for peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute through dialogue between Pakistan and India, and with full participation of Kashmiri people. The EU officials attending the event expressed grief over the use of weapons including pellet guns on unarmed civilians. The women officials at the event made categorical references to women and children rights abuses in the occupied territory and gave examples of braid chopping that Kashmiri women are subjected to by the Indian military. They also talked of half widows, women whose husbands have disappeared for years in the occupied territory and they know nothing about their whereabouts. The EU members vowed to speak on the issue at various EU institutions and urged the European commission and EU council to take serious note of the issue. The UN rapporteur of UNHCR Office Geneva on Kashmir, Madame C. Chung presented her UN report and highlighted grave human rights violation in Kashmir.

It is the first time since 2007 that the issue of Kashmir has been discussed publicly at an official European Union (EU) forum where India’s human rights violations in occupied Kashmir have been discussed.

Christine Chung, one of the authors of the UN report, who was also invited to the event, in her comments highlighted the dire human rights situation in the occupied Kashmir and reiterated the OHCHR’s recommendations for establishing a commission of inquiry to conduct a comprehensive and independent international investigation of human rights violations in the territory.

Sub-committee Chair Pier Antonio Panzeri in his opening remarks expressed the EU’s commitment to uphold and protect human rights throughout the world. The EU, he said, had never shied away from discussing human rights, even when it involved complex political issues. He pointed out that the issue of Kashmir was the longest unresolved issue on the agenda of the United Nations, and that the EU believes that dialogue among nations is necessary to resolve such issues.

The debate was attended by a large number of MEPs, human rights activists, civil society organisations, think tanks, diplomats from various countries, several UN and EU officials and members of Kashmiri diaspora across Europe.

Besides Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Belgium, the European Union and Luxembourg Naghmana Alamgir Hashmi, the MEPs who attended the event included Wajid Khan, Julie Ward, Baroness Nosheena Mubarik, Amjad Bashir, David Martin, Jordi Sole, Sion Simon, Jean Lambert, Richard Corbett, Theresa Griffin and Jo Leinen.

The public nature of the event also added to its value in generating awareness about the situation in the occupied territory.

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