Statement of President AJK at the 16th Regular Session of OIC
Statement of Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, at the 16th Regular Session of the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commision
Jeddah; November 25, 2016
Mr. Chairman, Mr Adama Nana,
I begin by thanking the OIC Independent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) for inviting me to this session. It is a pity that Chairman Saidov is not here, on whose invitation I am here, but I am grateful to you, Mr. Chairman, for steering this forum. Thank you so much for your compelling and comprehensive statement.
I pay tribute to Executive Director Marghoob Salim Butt for his commitment and diligence and his effective stewardship of the human rights apparatus in OIC. His contribution is substantive and substantial. Congratulations to you and all the Commissioners with whom you have worked over the years.
The documentary is moving. I was moved. I am sure you were moved. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
We are grateful to this Commission for publishing a comprehensive and, I would say, seminal report in March 2017 on the human rights situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. We had the honour of receiving and interacting with the IPHRC delegation in Muzaffarabad. Regrettably, India did not give access to the Commission.
The report is a precursor to the reports on the human rights situation in IOJK that were later published by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir of the British Parliament.
The recommendations of the Commision foreshadowed a raft of measures suggested by the later reports. They were, in fact, a warning to the international community to take urgent steps to forestall the catastrophic developments that took place on August 5 and October 31 this year.
More than two years before India’s illegal steps taken this year, the IPHRC had asked the United Nations to put pressure on India to end repression in IOJK and repeal two draconian laws - Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Public Safety Act; facilitate an independent investigation of human rights violations in the occupied territory especially those related to enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, rape and unmarked mass graves; implement UN resolutions to allow the people of Jammu and Kashmir to exercise their right to self-determination in a free and fair plebiscite under the UN auspices; and stop India from making demographic changes in the occupied territory.
We especially welcomed and appreciated the Commission’s recommendations to the OIC which envisaged a role for the Islamic Development Bank and Islamic Solidarity Fund to initiate development projects in the livelihood sector, health and education in the IOJK and the refugee camps in the AJK; and suggested to the OIC Member States to consider using the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement against India.
Almost all of the recommendations are valid in the current scenario, particularly after India’s outrageous and illicit steps taken this year. They need to be updated. The full horror is Indian occupiers’ malfeasance has not yet fully unfolded.
Today in their darkest hour, the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir look towards the OIC. They trust it more because they think it is family. They think that even if the U.N. does not intervene, the OIC would.
Islam enjoins respect for and the promotion of universal human rights. It proscribed racism, oppression, exploitation of the weak and disadvantaged, injustice, tyranny and abuse of any community in any form. The Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) preached and practised freedom for all, equality, justice and tolerance. Islamic principles of safeguarding human rights and humanitarianism were followed during and after the days of the Prophet (PBUH).
His edict was: “Assist any person who is oppressed, whether he is Muslim or not.”
According to the Islamic human rights regime, individuals and nations have the right to seek salvation from oppression and ensure their “security, dignity and liberty”.
The teachings of the Quran, the last Address by the Prophet (PBUH) and the Sunnah are in fact a universal charter of human rights.
Our faith recognises rights to life, freedom, justice, education, health; protection against discrimination, torture, and abuse of power; freedom of religion, belief, thought and speech, and protection of property, among others.
All these rights are being trampled in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir today.
By repealing Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution, India has usurped the special rights of the Kashmiris to education, employment, property and permanent residence in their homeland. This is a clear violation of the relevant human rights treaties and conventions and Articles 27 and 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, its Additional Protocol and the ICC Statute which clearly declare any illicit transfer of population in conflict zones or disputed territory illegal. ICC, in fact, declares such activities as war crimes.
India has made elaborate plans to steal the land of Muslims in IOJK.
Muslims in IOJK are being killed, blinded, maimed, incarcerated, tortured, and disappeared. Women have been subjected to rape and molestation; they are being treated as spoils of war; and their bodies are being objectified and fetishised. According to the Indian Federation of Women, some 13000 young boys have been abducted since August 5 and put in jails incommunicado. Parents are running from pillar to post to find where their boys have disappeared.
Kashmir’s economy is in ruins. Farmers have not sold their crops of walnuts, apples and saffron worth billions of dollars.
There is civil disobedience. People are loath to give a stamp of legitimacy to the occupiers.
This truly is a crisis. People are facing death, destruction, dispossession and destitution.
India is acting with impunity. The perpetrators of the crimes against humanity enjoy immunity from prosecution. India is seeking and legitimising “exceptionalism” for itself from the rule of law and takes steps towards systematic genocide of a population without any risk or fear of accountability. No Nuremberg court is being prepared for India as of now.
That’s not all. India frequently targets and kills civilians across the Line of Control in Azad Kashmir. This has been the worst year with more than 50 people killed, 300 disabled and seriously injured, infrastructure destroyed, livelihoods ruined. Indian occupation soldiers have used banned cluster munitions that have killed and injured children.
Applicable law against these violations itself would from a thick magnum opus: The two International Covenants on Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Conventions on the Discrimination against Women, Racial Discrimination, and Torture, and the Convention for the Protection from Enforced Disappearances, as well as customary international law and international humanitarian law.
On October 31, India, through another unilateral and unlawful act, bifurcated into two territories part of the occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir that does not belong to it, forcibly annexed it and redrew fake maps to justify this occupation. These actions violate uti possidetis juris, a principle of international law that prohibits alteration of internal and external borders until a dispute is resolved.
It needs to be said loudly and clearly that the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination is recognized by international law. It is jus cogens, the peremptory norm of international law, and erga omnes, which ‘flows to all’, without exception. It cannot be denied to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in the two reports, has unambiguously asked India to “fully respect the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir as protected under international law.”
India, the occupier of Jammu and Kashmir, is writing 101 of human rights violations, the text book of how to trample the rights of a population - disarmed, besieged, non-combatant.
This frenzy is being fed by the Neo-Fascist doctrine of Hindutva which propagates that Muslims are impure and that the soil of India and, indeed, of South Asia should be cleansed of Muslim presence to restore the subcontinent’s pristine purity mythologized by Hindu violent extremists.
In order to divert its attention from its atrocities, India is also stoking the flames of war. Its extremist leaders say they will attack Azad Kashmir - the territory I represent - and Pakistan and would have no hesitation in using nuclear weapons in this cursed mission.
The OIC’s IPHRC can help liberate the people of Jammu and Kashmir from India’s colonial rule, foreign occupation and alien domination
India has put together a kludge of despotic military operations and occupational constitutionalism of dubious validity to give a false image of normalcy. If everything is normal, let them receive Human Rights Council’s and the IPHRC’s missions who can assess the situation of the so-called normalcy, first hand.
I invite you to come to Azad Kashmir. We will welcome you there. At the same time, ask India to give you access. Please don’t take their NO for an answer.
The Genocide Watch has issued a genocide alert for IOJK. Indian fascist government and Indophiles ridicule such warnings. IPHRC can establish the truth about the wide and substantiated reports about genocide, ethnic cleansing, massacres, crimes against humanity and war crimes in IOJK.
Help us reverse the process of colonisation and demographic changes in IOJK that would pave the way for the establishment of illegal settlements in IOJK and reduce Muslim majority to a minority by populating Hindus from all parts of India in a land that does not belong to it by law. Land grab must be stopped.
Don’t believe in what Indian occupiers or their apologists are saying. Their hands are drenched in blood and lips pedal lies. Kashmiris are being brutalised. And, that is why, we need the authentic information and data, and for that we need to interface with the international community to project the true voices of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and broadcast the true narrative.
This has become possible after decades as thousands of Parliamentarians, mediapersons and opinion leaders around the world have called out India and spoken out for the Kashmiris. The US Congress, where it was taboo to question India, has held two hearings on Kashmir where witnesses have flayed and excoriated India.
The OIC must also call for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to IOJK. Kashmiri students whose education and jobs have been disrupted deserve our help so that they do not lose all hope.
The OIC nations should use their immense clout and leverage to persuade India to renounce annihilation of Kashmiris and work with the international community for pathways to resolution of the Kashmir dispute and peace in the region. If India is not amenable to such overtures, the OIC should seriously consider your own proposal to use economic tools to dissociate yourself from a country that kills your brothers and sisters and persecutes Muslims simply because they are Muslims.
I do not know whether this falls into your purview, but it would be opportune to examine the dire consequences for human rights in South Asia as the present regime in India relentlessly pursues the neo-fascist agenda of religious exclusivism, discrimination and Xenophobia. Please help us stem a holocaust.
I can assure you that Azad Kashmir is a most peaceful state. It has the lowest crime rate and highest literacy. Thousands of students who graduate from public sector universities and post-graduate colleges want to transform Azad Kashmir into a model of sustainable development. We are investing in roads, tourism, industry, agriculture, quality education and health. We are no paragons of perfection but in our part there are no massacres, no blindings, no forced disappearances, in starkest contrast to IOJK. We are determined to promote the rule of law, access to justice good governance. Our part of Kashmir is also paradise on earth. Visit us, you will not regret it.
I invite IPHRC to visit AJK once again. We look forward to the visit to Azad Kashmir of H.E. Mr. Yousef Aldobeay, Special Envoy on Kashmir, in the near future.