United Nations, February 22, 2020 (PPI-OT):The International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (IHRAAM), a non-governmental organisation, has submitted a written statement for the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council’s agenda item 4, human rights situation.
The session of the Human Rights Council will be held from February 24 to March 20, 2020 and the Secretary-General has received the written statement, which is circulated in accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31.
The IHRAAM statement said, genocide was first recognised as a crime under international law in 1946 by the United Nations General Assembly and was codified as an independent crime in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
It said, the Convention has been ratified by 152 states. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has repeatedly stated that the Convention is peremptory international law and that it embodies principles that are part of customary international law. This means that whether or not States have ratified the Convention, they are all bound that genocide is a crime prohibited under international law, it added.
The statement said, Kashmiris in occupied Kashmir is a distinct national/ethnic/religious group, in particular the Kashmiri Muslims, as being recognised in the UN report 2019. It said Kashmiris are subjected to genocide by the perpetrators with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part.
The IHRAAM submitted in its statement that the international human rights groups have admitted that Indian armed forces are using excessive force that leads to unlawful killings and hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris have been killed during the period 1990-2019.
It said, in recent years, the civil society groups estimate that 130 to 145 Kashmiris were killed by the Indian forces between July 2016 and March 2018. These killings resulted from the use of pellet guns, bullets, teargas shells, inhaling chemical shell fumes and shooting by Indian troops.
The statement said, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists all claim that there were over 90 fatalities of Kashmiris in 2016 and during 2018, it is claimed that 160 Kashmiris were killed, the Kashmir Valley accounted for 122 and the four districts of South Kashmir recorded 85 killings. The first half of 2019 (January-June 2019) continued with killings of Kashmiris. The first six months record 163 Kashmiris’ killings, it said.
The IHRAAM statement said, among the civilians killed, 9 were minors and 12 were women and all the killings were at the hands of Indian forces. The second half of 2019 (July-December) records 64 killings of Kashmiris. These figures (95,475 killings since January 1989 to December 10, 2019 corroborate the argument that there is a systematic pattern in place with intent to destroy in whole or in part the Kashmiris, it maintained.
It said, there has long been persistent claims seriously bodily harm of Kashmiris who have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. “Such bodily injuries are caused from lethal weapons including pellet shotguns. Besides, injuries through torture and other mistreatment occur at the detention and interrogation centres operated by the Indian forces and the intelligence agencies, it added.
It said, one of the most dangerous weapons used against Kashmiris is the pellet-firing shotgun – a shotgun – that fires metal pellets. According to information received by the State Human Rights Commission from 10 districts of the Kashmir Valley, metal pellets seriously injured 1,726 Kashmiris in 2016, it deplored.
The statement said, the Government of India has introduced the policy of “operation all out” that has been on-going since 2017 and this operation has led to severe injuries including 1,253 Kashmiris blinded by the metal pellets up to the end of 2018.
The IHRAAM statement said, human rights groups have warned the authorities that minors were arrested under draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) in 2016 and 2017 and several Kashmiri leaders detained under the black law in 2018 and 2019 continue to be imprisoned and many of them were transferred to Indian prisons adding that the aim is the physical destruction of the Kashmiris. It said, civil society in occupied Kashmir claims over 8,000 Kashmiris having disappeared since 1989 and impunity for enforced or involuntary disappearances in the territory continues. Cases of enforced disappearances continue to be reported until the end of 2019, it added.
In February 2018, the Support Group for Justice for Kunanposhpora survivors filed a petition before the Human Rights Commission of the territory, urging investigation into all cases of sexual assault by Indian forces upon Kashmiri women. This vicious act is undertaken to ensure physical destruction of Kashmiri women, it said.
A media investigation claimed that schools and colleges were closed for 60 percent of the working days between 2016 and 2017 and the situation in 2018 and in 2019 was such that practically no schools and colleges were open.
The IHRAAM statement said, human rights groups claim days-long curfews and communication blockade have major impact on Kashmiris and their access to medical care particularly on pregnant women. “According to civil society reports around 200 ambulances were damaged by Indian armed forces and in some cases by protestors. The Doctors Association of Kashmir documented several instances of doctors, paramedics and ambulances drivers being obstructed, prevented and physically assaulted by Indian armed forces, it deplored.
It said, IHRAAM addresses the international community and calls for an international Commission of Inquiry on the killings perpetrated against the Kashmiris. It also calls for the prosecution under the Convention and under universal jurisdiction of the perpetrators of the crime of genocide in the occupied territory, who have acted or act at the behest India. The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, should open a formal investigation under articles 6 and 7 of the Statute of Rome.
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