World Kashmir Awareness Forum in US raises strong voice against India over IOK

World Kashmir Awareness Forum in US raises strong voice against India over IOK

NEW YORK - The World Kashmir Awareness Forum, a Washington-based advocacy group, has drawn international community’s attention to the grave human rights abuses in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir over the past 73 years, and called for urgent steps to enable the Kashmiri people to exercise their UN-promised right to self-determination.

“With 100,000 civilian deaths, 10,000 missing and civic, political and economic life critically suppressed, the people of Kashmir are facing erasure from history,” the Forum warned in a statement marking Human Rights Day.

“This year, the people of Kashmir have suffered even further escalations of human rights abuses, including an ongoing communications blockade, forced demographic changes and raids on non-governmental organization, journalists and civil society leaders,” Dr. Ghulam N. Mir, President of the Forum, said. ALSO READ Human rights must be ‘front and centre’ of coronavirus response: UN chief link

“All of this is taking place amidst a global pandemic, which Kashmir is incapable of properly addressing due to a critical lack of resources and healthcare infrastructure. It cannot be put more plainly: Kashmiris are facing an existential crisis,” he added.

In this regard, the World Kashmir Awareness Forum put forward a set of demands to the Indian government, with a call to the international community to raise their voices in solidarity and support.

They are: Immediately lift the military siege, restore all internet connectivity and communications links and release all political prisoners; allow unfettered access to monitor and report human rights violations by credible international bodies and U.N. rights experts; halt and rescind all laws instituted to accelerate demographic changes in Kashmir; disarm and withdraw all Indian military and paramilitary personnel from the occupied territories and allow Kashmiris to exercise their right of self-determination. ALSO READ Kashmir emerged as nuclear flash-point: AJK President link

“Kashmiris in the region and throughout the diaspora have endured 73 years of terror, suppression and indescribable loss,” Professor Khalid J. Qazi, Board Member of the Forum, said. “As we observe U.N. Human Rights Day, (the Forum) implores the international community not to forget the people of Kashmir.

The only hope for an end to the senseless violence is by uplifting Kashmiri voices and uniting for a strong international response.”