September 16, 2016 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Geneva: The strong statement by the top UN diplomat for human rights on India’s role in occupied Kashmir continues to resonate internationally. Four top Kashmiri delegates to the 33rd session of UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva joined rights defenders from around the world in singling out Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein for praise.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights blasted India for civilian killings in occupied Kashmir, asked India to allow a UN mission to meet Kashmiri victims, and demanded an independent international probe into the human rights violations by Indian troops in the territory. This position by the UN was the first at this scale in possibly half-century, and is a major setback for India’s international diplomacy.
Kashmiri delegates Altaf Hussein Wani and Sardar Amjad Youssef Khan took to the podium to encourage the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to sustain pressure on India for its human rights violations in Kashmir.
Mounting the Kashmiri diplomacy, leaders of All Parties Hurriyet Conference (APHC) Azad Jammu and Kashmir chapter, Syed Faiz Naqshbandi and Hassan Al-Banna separately met the Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Kate Gilmore.
Altaf Wani, addressing the UN Human Rights Council during General Debate, singled out UN High Commissioner for praise, “Not only did the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights have the distinction of addressing the first session of the second decade of the Council, he has also done a great service to the international humanitarian system by addressing a key issue: how growing number of powerful countries refuse to give access to OHCHR and other human rights mechanisms.” “We call upon the Govt. of India to fulfill its international responsibilities and cooperate with the international human rights machinery, the Human Rights Council, the high commissioner and his office and the special rapporteurs in Kashmir,” he said.
Sardar Amjad Youssef appealed to important member States of the Council not to sacrifice human ideals at the altar of business deals with India. “This council has a moral responsibility to speak and act for the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, since Kashmir is a United Nations recognized disputed territory,” he added. Sardar Amjad Youssef told the president of the Council that any delay in addressing the situation in Kashmir could worsen tensions in the region and get “out of control.”
In the separate meeting with the Deputy High Commissioner Kate Gilmore, APHC AJK leader, Syed Faiz Naqshbandi, endorsed her on High Commissioner’s demand for an independent international investigation into Kashmir killings. Kashmiri rights activists stand ready to assist the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in collecting facts on the ground in the disputed territory to help the UN deal with India, he added.
The eight-member Kashmir Delegation for UNHRC’s 33rd session consists of Altaf Hussain Wani, Syed Faiz Naqshbandi, Hassan Al-Banna, Sardar Amjad Youssef Khan, Mrs Shamim Shawl, Ahmed Quraishi, Professor Shagufta Ashraf and Atia Anwer.