UNHRC should urge India to end bloodshed in occupied Kashmir: FM Qureshi

GENEVA: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday said the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR) should urge India to end the bloodshed and restore fundamental freedoms and liberties.

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Addressing the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, Qureshi said UNHCR should urge India to immediately lift the curfew and reverse the clampdown and communications blackout in occupied Kashmir.

The Indian draconian emergency laws in occupied Kashmir cannot be allowed to stand, said FM Qureshi. “India should release political prisoners, stop targeting human rights defenders and fulfil obligations under the UN Security Council resolutions and various human rights instruments.”

The foreign minister urged the human rights council to take steps to bring to justice the perpetrators of human rights violations of the innocent Kashmiris and in this context constitute a commission of inquiry as recommended by the office of the UNHCR.

If India has nothing to hide, it should allow unhindered access to the Commission of Inquiry, said Qureshi, adding, “Pakistan stands ready to allow access to the proposed Commission of Inquiry, or other mechanisms, on our side of the Line of Control; together with similar access to occupied Kashmir.”

The minister called for focused discussions on the two Reports of UNHCR, in the Human Rights Council (LoC) and a unanimous decision by this House to implement their recommendations made to India, Pakistan and foremost to the Human Rights Council.

He said, “The human rights council should authorise the Office of the High Commissioner and the Human Rights Council’s Special Procedures Mandate Holders, to monitor and report on India’s human rights violations in IoK; and regularly update this Council.”

India should be called upon to allow unhindered access to human rights organisations and international media to the occupied valley, he said.

Expressing serious concerns over the situation in occupied Kashmir, Qureshi said we must not remain indifferent to the tragedy that is unfolding before our eyes. “We must act decisively and with conviction,” he asserted.

The people of occupied Kashmir have been waiting for their right to self-determination for seven decades, he said.

The basic and inalienable human rights of Kashmiri people are being trampled with impunity by India, said FM Qureshi while drawing attention to the prevailing situation in occupied Kashmir. He said, “The people of this occupied land are suffering systematic, and serial, violations of their fundamental freedoms.”

Referring to increased Line of Control (LoC) violations, the foreign minister said New Delhi has used cluster ammunition and heavy artillery, in flagrant disregard of fundamental norms of international humanitarian law. This, he said, must end immediately. He said the reckless posture and draconian measures by India pose a grave threat to peace and security in nuclearised South Asia.

Earlier in the day, Qureshi met Director General WHO Dr Tedros on the sidelines of UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva and urged WHO to immediately take steps to save lives of hundreds of thousands of unarmed Kashmiris.

FM Qureshi apprised the WHO director-general that food and medicines are not available to people in occupied Kashmir due to imposition of curfew thereby India since the fifth of the last month.

The medical staff is facing great difficulties to provide medical facilities to pregnant women, children and elderly people, said the minister.

The grave situation in occupied Kashmir is indicating the emergence of a new humanitarian crisis, he added.

He also met with Group of Ambassadors of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation at UNHCR and Amadou Ba Minister of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Diaspora in Gevena and briefed them on the grave human rights violations and humanitarian emergency in the occupied valley.

FM Qureshi arrived in Geneva on a three-day visit on Monday where he was received by Special Representative of Prime Minister on Diplomatic Outreach Tehmina Janjua and other high officials.

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