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‘Worsening human rights situation’: Can’t back down on Kashmir, says European Parliament

Restrictions in Srinagar/ File Photo

The Vice President of the European Parliament and its 15 members on Friday sent a letter to the EU Commission president and the bloc’s foreign policy chief regarding the “worsening humanitarian and human rights situation in Kashmir.”

The letter was shared on the social media site Twitter by Fabio Massimo Castaldo and captioned: “EU can’t back down.”

The letter addressing Ursula von der Leyen and Josep Borrell, reads: “As a champion of universal human rights, fundamental freedoms and the ruled-based international order, the EU must raise its voice against the violations of human rights affecting the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

It said that the “EU should use all its leverage and tools” to cooperate with India and Pakistan “to honour the pledge made to the Kashmiris by the international community” and to implement UN resolutions.

The letter highlighted several human rights violations, saying “the restraint of the rights to movement, access to information, health care, education as well as free speech have been intensified by the COVID pandemic.”

Arbitrary detention and prohibition on public assembly continues, said the letter, adding journalists and human rights defenders “have been increasingly targeted.”

“In addition to being a humanitarian crisis, the long-standing dispute over Jammu and Kashmir in South Asia also poses a major threat to peace, stability, and security in the region,” it said.

“It is extremely important that the voices of Kashmiri people are heard, their aspirations are responded to and they are granted the opportunity to decide their own future,” it added.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has “welcomed” a letter written by a group of European parliamentarians to the European Commission on the “humanitarian situation” in JK, calling it “yet another demonstration of the global censure” of India’s “human rights violations” in the valley.

The statement said that despite “India continuously peddling false propaganda in futile attempts to push the sham narrative of so-called ‘normalcy’ in JK”, criticism of Indian actions had only increased after “egregious violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms” in the wake of India’s “illegal and unilateral” actions to strip JK of its special autonomy on August 5, 2019.

The FO statement noted that various international forums had now debated the issue with international media and human rights organizations were “consistently” raising the topic of humanitarian violations in the territory.

“India must realize that it cannot ignore the international community’s continuing calls to end its “grave and systematic human rights violations” on the Kashmiri people,” the FO added.

 

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