ISLAMABAD: A gathering of NGOs from across the world took place on the side lines of the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva heard an impassioned plea for India to be taken to task for systematic mass human rights violations in Kashmir, Punjab, Nagaland, Manipur and Assam.
According to Kashmir Media Service, chaired by Professor Nazir Ahmed Shawl, deputy leader of the World Muslim Congress, the event heard about specific instances of mass abuses for which, despite the efforts of civil society and unending law suits, Indian political and military leaders continue to enjoy impunity.
From the Sikh perspective, Ranjit Singh Srai described the horrors of the genocide of 20,000 Sikhs in three days in November 1984 following the death of Indira Gandhi. He also explained how the Indian authorities tried to blame innocent Kashmiris for the brutal killing of 35 Sikhs in the Chattisingpura massacre in 2000 by Indian forces.
Citing these examples as part of a shocking wider picture of abuses for which there was never any legal redress he called for the establishment of a UN-backed criminal tribunal along the lines of the Yugoslavia and Ruanda cases to hold Indian officials to account for serial mass human rights abuses.
Professor Shawl endorsed that call and said that it was ironic that India’s Supreme Court recognised international law yet completely failed to implement it. In the meantime, the same Supreme Court seems to function without hindrance when it comes to hanging Sikhs and Kashmiris.
The event considered, as a thematic issue, the problem of states failing to comply with their human rights obligations and all speakers called for the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court to be made compulsory in order to deal with the current failure to protect citizens from state terror.
India’s campaign for a permanent seat at the UN’s Security Council, in the light of its appalling human rights record was castigated as a cruel joke on the international community.
The forthcoming referendum on Scottish independence as well as the events in Crimea have revitalised interest in self-determination.
Speakers at the event from indigenous nations in North America gave other examples of how competing claims to natural resources are again focusing attention on the fundamental issue of self-determination.