OF UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL & KASHMIR
By Abdul Majid Zargar
The month of March 2014 has witnessed a mixed bag of news on human rights front. A news that is good, bad as well as sad. It needs a little bit of explaining.
First the good news. The UN human rights Council has passed a resolution which paves way for an international investigation into alleged war crimes by the Sri Lankan Govt. in the final stages of its war with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The council’s 47 members voted 23 to 12 with 12 abstentions in favor of the resolution sponsored by a core group of nations, including the United States, that calls on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct a comprehensive investigation into allegations of serious violations and abuses of human rights by Sri lankan Govt. The immediate provocation for investigating the violations through an independent & impartial international body comes after the failure of Sri Lankan government to seriously respond to two previous Human Rights Council resolutions seeking investigations by Sri Lankan Govt. into violations of human rights and humanitarian law during the last stages of fighting with the LTTE, which resulted in the deaths of as many as 40,000 civilians. While moving the resolution, Juliette De Rivero, Geneva Director of the Council said- “Instead of investigating those responsible for atrocities, the Sri Lankan government has cynically absolved its forces of any wrongdoing and lashed out at those seeking accountability. Passing this resolution will send a strong message to all victims of Sri Lanka’s war that they have not been forgotten.”
Along with this news, there is another good news from European Union which plans to set up an international tribunal focusing exclusively on crimes allegedly committed by Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian rebels during their war with Serbia. The court is to be symbolically seated in Kosovo, but most of the key proceedings such as hearing of witnesses testimony would take place in the Netherlands. Though the Kosovo war was supported by the international community, the United States and all the freedom-loving people but it is heartening to note that grave human rights violations & war crimes have not been condoned even by those who supported the war.
The bad news is that in case of Sri Lankan resolution, Pakistan has opposed the move along with China and ten other Countries. Politics & National interests have prevailed over the rights of humans to exist on earth & live a dignified life. The position taken by Pakistan has considerably eroded the credibility of its oft repeated stand of political, moral and diplomatic support for Kashmiris.
The sad news is that United Nations & its human rights Council is in deep slumber in respect of Kashmir. The rights violations in Sri Lanka are not even a pale shadow of what has happened in Kashmir. People here have been Gaw Kadaled on countless occasions. There are instances of mass Gang rapes of Kashmiri women at the hands of Indian soldiers. At times, they have literally turned into beasts by raping even minor girls, newly wed brides and daughters in front of mothers. People have been made to disappear in thin air without any trace being left behind. This has produced a long trail of half-widows & half orphans. Mass unmarked graves have surfaced near the borders & military garrisons which have not been investigated so far. There are instances where people have been made to burn in live infernos by blocking rescue operations & access to medical aid. Covert operations, like the one unveiled by by Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark in their international best seller “the meadows-Where the terror began”,in which five foreign citizens were killed, have taken place on an unprecedented scale. A large section of the society has been forced to flee & live a life of refugees. There are also few recorded/suspected cases of organ harvesting.
UN & its human rights council will have to take a call whether Kashmiris have a right to be treated at par with other citizens of the globe. If the answer is yes then it must take steps to constitute an intependent war crimes tribunal on the lines of Sri Lanka to investigate the spine chilling crimes committed by Indian security forces. If USA takes note of Indian Prime Minsterial Candidate Narender Modi’s complicity in Gujrat riots and refuses him a visa to enter America, there is no reason why the same yard stick should not be applied to Kashmiri politicians who have acted as collaborators, aiders & abettors of crimes committed by these forces.
And sooner this happens, the better it is for the health of the whole world community.
Author is a practicing chartered Accountant. E mail: email@example.com