Kashmir Black Day seminar in Oslo highlights human rights situation in IIOJK

Kashmir Black Day seminar in Oslo highlights human rights situation in IIOJK

OSLO, Norway, Oct 28 (APP): The Embassy of Pakistan, Oslo, on the occasion of Kashmir Black Day, organized a seminar on “Human Rights Situation in Jammu and Kashmir”, to mark 75 years of the illegal Indian occupation of Jammu and Kashmir.

Senior Norwegian politicians, Parliamentarians, social activists, journalists, representatives from think tanks, academia as well as prominent members of Pakistani and Kashmiri communities in Norway attended the seminar.

Member of Parliament (MP) Red Party Tobias Drevlend Lund, former MP Christian Democratic Party (KrF) Lars Rise, former Parliamentarian of Labour Party Khalid Mahmood, former MP Socialist Left Party Akhtar Chaudhry, and Representative of Socialist Left Party Mahmood Ahmed were the keynote speakers at the seminar.

Recorded messages by Mr. Geir Lippestad, Chairman Sentrum Party and Ms. Lee Rhiannon, former Australian Senator were also played during the seminar, a press release issued by Pakistan Embassy in Oslo on Friday said.

In his remarks Mr Tobias Drevland Lund, MP from the Red Party, emphasized that the international community has for long discounted the oppression in Kashmir, which has helped the Indian military to enforce a reign of terror for the past 75 years.

The employment of disproportionate force as well as the use of bullets and pellets, against innocent Kashmiri people, including women and children, is an affront to all norms of humanity.

He also shared the findings of the Report by US Congressional Research Service released on 23 August and the Human Rights Watch Report 2021, that had clearly expressed grave concern over the massive human rights violations in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), systematic discrimination and displacement of country’s Muslim population in Kashmir.

He further said that there was a strong need for political awareness of the conflict and about the human rights abuses in Kashmir.

He informed about his written question with reference to the Kashmir Black Day, to the Norwegian Foreign Minister, urging to utilize country’s UNSC membership to build consensus for referendum in Kashmir, in accordance with the UN Resolution of 1949.

He strongly rejected the ethno-nationalist policies of the Modi government, and reaffirmed that the Red Party would continue to raise the Kashmir issue in the Parliament. It would push the Norwegian government to put pressure on India to end the military suppression in Kashmir, and allowing the people of Kashmir their right to decide their future, he added.

Lars Rise, former Norwegian MP Christian Democrats, spoke about his prolonged and deep association with the Kashmir cause and said that he had raised the Kashmir issue at several forums including the Norwegian Parliament and had been the driving force behind creation of the Kashmir Group.

Rise remarked that in the absence of strong international pressure, including from Norway, India was emboldened in centralizing control over Kashmir in violation of the international law.

He stated that it was important for the international community to stand up for the Kashmiris, and to take a principled position to put an end to the atrocities.

He further stated that he stood by the Kashmiris and remained committed to continually supporting the Kashmir cause.

Ms. Lee Rhiannon, former Australian Senator in her recorded statement mentioned that this day reminded the international community of its responsibility to stand in solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who had been living under the brutal oppression of the Indian forces for the past 75 years, to effectively deny their right to self-determination.

She added that the international community due to their own vested interests has turned a blind eye to the perpetrated human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir, and to the illegal actions by the Modi government to revoke the articles of its own constitution that had granted special status to IIOJK.

She mentioned that the solution lies in global solidarity to step up efforts to put pressure on the West to speak about the human rights violations and advocate peace and justice in the region.

Mahmood Ahmed, representative of the Socialist Left Party remarked that freedom and self-determination of the people of Kashmir was an important agenda of his party.

He condemned the Indian illegal and unilateral actions of 5th August 2019, wherein it unsuccessfully tried to alter the internationally recognized disputed status of IOJK.

He said that the will of the people was embodied in the UN binding Resolutions on Kashmir through a free and fair plebiscite under the UN auspices.

Geir Lippestad, Chairman Sentrum Party said that the illegal occupation of Kashmir by India was a blatant violation of human rights, that had been long ignored by the international community, including Norway.

He added that Norway with a proud history of a good facilitator for peace negotiator must raise the issue at UN for resolution of the conflict under the relevant Security Council resolutions.

He mentioned that Norway as part of UNSC, and known for sending peace keeping observers in conflict areas in many parts of the world must also take initiative to a peace keeping mission in Kashmir area to control the violence and oppression.

He reiterated that the issue of Kashmir has been adopted in his Party’s agenda, and will be rigorously raised on every platform to condemn the human rights violations in Kashmir.

The former MP of Norwegian Parliament, Akhtar Chaudhry expressed concern over the deteriorating human rights situation in IIOJK and the incessant use of brute forces by Indian occupation forces.

He mentioned that violations of human rights in any part of the world, including Kashmir must be taken as a serious issue.

He said that as Norwegians, it was a matter of credibility for them that if they demand that human rights should be respected in other countries, then they cannot close their eyes to the serious abuses unleashed in Kashmir for decades now.

Norway as defender of human rights had an obligation to stand up for the Kashmiris in their legitimate right to self-determination, he added.

The seminar was moderated by prominent Norwegian-Pakistani politician and former Labour Party MP, Khalid Mahmood, who mentioned that the Kashmir issue was the oldest unresolved international dispute on the UN Security Council agenda.

He highlighted India’s illegal occupation and actions to occupy Jammu and Kashmir both physically, socio-culturally and to alter the demographic makeup of the disputed territory, which was in sheer violation of the UNSC resolutions, human rights, and humanitarian law.

He called for a free and impartial plebiscite in Kashmir under the relevant Security Council resolutions to allow the Kashmiris their legitimate right to self determination.

Ambassador Babar Amin conveyed his deep gratitude to the speakers, guests as well as the virtual participants for attending the event in solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

He said that history of Kashmir was ripe with denial and abuse of human rights at the hand of Indian occupation forces.

He highlighted the latest situation following the Indian illegal actions of 5 August 2019 to alter internationally recognized disputed status of IIOJK and making criminal demographic changes.

The Ambassador quoted famous Norwegian historian Elisabeth Eide who has recently in her book “India on the Road to Hindu Nationalism” wrote that Kashmir had been placed under its iron heal on 5th August 2019. The book has highlighted massive human rights violations in IIOJK.

The Ambassador further stated that India placed 900,000 troops in Jammu and Kashmir to suppress the Kashmiri voices.

Enforced disappearances of 13,000 minors and many political activists, extra judicial killings, search and cordon operations, rapes are a normal routine in IIOJK. Citizenship has been granted to over 4 million Indians since June 2020 in a bid to reduce Muslim majority in minority.

IIOJK had a population of around 9 million before Indian abrogation of Article 35 A that banned Jammu and Kashmir citizenships to non-Kashmiris, he added.

Human Rights experts with the office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has raised serious concerns over the demographic changes on the religious, linguistic and ethnic identity of people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Draconian laws such as Armed Forces Special Power Act giving immunity to occupation forces from any criminal jurisdiction including rape, murder and war crime remain in force.

He appealed to Norway which holds great pride for defending human rights to publicly raise their voice for the people of Jammu and Kashmir in the UN Security Council, UN Human Rights Council as well as with the Indian interlocutors.

A large number of community members residing outside Oslo also joined the seminar through Zoom platform from all across Norway.

The seminar was live-streamed on the Facebook page of the Mission and received wide projection through the social media platform.