OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir discusses human rights situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir

NEW YORK: On the request of the Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshi,  the Members of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir met for an informal meeting in New York on Monday to discuss the worsening human rights situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

The Permanent Representatives of Pakistan, Ambassador Munir, and the Permanent Representatives of Saudi Arabia, Niger, and Azerbaijan attended the meeting.

The OIC Secretary-General was represented by the Permanent Representative of the OIC Observer Mission to the UN Ambassador Agshin Mehdiyev.

Members of the Contact Group reviewed recent developments relating to Jammu and Kashmir, including the grave human rights and humanitarian situation in IIOJK and the tensions along the Line of Control (LoC).

Conveying the special message of the Foreign Minister, the Permanent Representative of Pakistan, Ambassador Munir Akram stated that the RSS-BJP regime in India was implementing what its rulers had themselves called a “Final Solution”.

It was engaged in systematically engineering a demographic change in IIOJK through new domicile rules. The issuance of 1.6 million domicile certificates (since March) was meant to change the demography of IIOJK from a Muslim majority into Hindu majority territory. In another attempt to obliterate the Muslim identity of occupied Jammu and Kashmir the status of the Urdu language was being changed under a new legislation. Indian claims of “normalcy” in IIOJK were fallacious.

The joint communication by eighteen Special Mandate Holders of the Human Rights Council issued last month had termed the human rights situation in IIOJK in “free fall”. Hundreds of young Kashmiris were extra-judicially killed in “fake encounters” and “cordon and search” operations while the Indian security forces continued to enjoy complete impunity under black laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (APSPA) and the Public Safety Act (PSA).

In his special message, the foreign minister also sensitized the Contact Group that India had intensified its belligerent rhetoric against Pakistan, including threats of military aggression.

In 2020 alone, India had so far committed over 2200 ceasefire violations. There was a tangible threat of further escalation as India might conduct another “false flag” operation to justify renewed aggression against Pakistan, posing a serious threat to regional peace and security.

To this end, the Foreign Minister emphasized that it was imperative for India to: immediately lift its inhumane military siege and rescind illegal actions taken since 05 August; remove restrictions on communications, movement, and peaceful assembly; release incarcerated political leaders; free arbitrarily detained Kashmiris; reverse new domicile rules; remove draconian security laws; prosecute military and civilian personnel involved in massive human rights violations; and allow unhindered access to the OIC, IPHRC and UN Fact-Finding Missions and the international media to investigate the human rights violations in IIOJK.

Reaffirming the OIC’s principled position on the issue, all members of the Contact Group spoke and expressed deep concern at the continued violations by India of the fundamental human rights in occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Recalling its Ministerial Communiques of September 25, 2019 and June 22, 2020, the Group Members fully endorsed the recommendations of the Foreign Minister of Pakistan which were essential for an immediate de-escalation.

The Contact Group also asked the UN Secretary-General, the UN Security Council, and the UN Human Rights Council to call on India to halt the human rights violations in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, rescind the unilateral and illegal measures taken on and after August 5, 2019 and to implement the Security Council resolutions calling for a plebiscite to enable the people of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir to exercise their right to self-determination.