Allegedly occupied by Indian forces, Jammu and Kashmir is the most militarized region in the world. Today it has become the largest International prison where people are suppressed and denied their right to self-determination and free speech. Youth, journalists, members of civil society, and human rights activists are also imprisoned there and the situation has become despicable and unacceptable.
Recently, Terry Meza, a member of the US House of Representatives, recently took part in a Kashmir Global Council (KGC) event to support her calls for Kashmir’s freedom. She opposed all forms of oppression and emphasized the need for a peaceful solution to the Kashmir conflict that respects the rightful aspirations of the Kashmiri people. In order to stop the deliberate polarization of the justice system and its discriminatory operation, she urged the international community, particularly the United States, to make contact with the Indian state. It’s pertinent to mention here that lately the State Department of the United States viewed Jammu and Kashmir as the disputed territory between India and Pakistan and stuck to its policy toward Kashmir. Ned Price, the spokesman for the US State Department, referred to the contentious area as “India’s Jammu and Kashmir” in one of his tweets, which is quite disappointing.
The prevailing situation raises concerns to address past and ongoing human rights violations and abuses while bringing justice to the people in Kashmir. A report Published by the UN Human Rights Office in 2018 on the human rights situation in Indian-Administered Kashmir stated that “for almost seven decades the Kashmiris have been writhing a conflict that has ruined numerous lives”. The report also highlights a situation of chronic impunity for violations committed by Indian security forces. Likewise, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein opined in a statement that “the political dimensions of the dispute between India and Pakistan have long been center-stage, but this is not a conflict frozen in time. It is a conflict that has robbed millions of their basic human rights, and continues to this day to inflict untold suffering.”
This suggests that any attempt to resolve the political situation in Kashmir must include a commitment to put an end to the cycles of violence. It is important to ensure that those responsible for past and present violations and abuses are held accountable, and offer victims compensation. Moreover, there is a dire need that a commission of inquiry must immediately be established to carry out a thorough, independent, international investigation into claims of human rights abuses in Kashmir. One of the UN’s most in-depth investigations, a commission of inquiry is usually only used in response to major international crises and Kashmir is one of them.
As a result of how serious the situation is, there is an increase in global awareness of the brutality and atrocities committed by Indians in IIOJK. The majority of human rights organizations speak out against IIOJK’s violations of human rights. Genocide Watch, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the US Commission on International Religious Freedom all emphasize the need to address ongoing human rights violations and bring justice to all Kashmiris. These reports also stress the need to form a commission of inquiry to look into claims of human rights abuses in Kashmir in-depth and independently on a global scale.
The international community, including the US, must also call on India to stop its persistent and organized violations of human rights in occupied Kashmir. Stopping extrajudicial killings of Kashmiris during fictitious “encounters,” arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances, imprisonment of political leaders, and demographic changes in the area; are all urgently needed. According to the pertinent UNSC resolutions, sincere efforts must be made to settle the conflict peacefully. IIOJK has grown to be the largest prisoner in the world; only by resolving the Kashmir issue in accordance with the Kashmiri people’s wishes peace can be established in South Asia.