The European Union has a long-established policy of encouraging a peace process to find a just and sustainable peace settlement in the disputed territory of Kashmir in which the views of the local population are taken into account.
The European Union views all human rights as universal, indivisible and interdependent. It actively promotes and defends them both within its borders and when engaging in relations with non-EU countries, including the actors involved in the Kashmir dispute.
The EU’s human rights and democracy policy encompasses civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. The EU is adamant about protecting the universal nature of human rights when this is questioned on grounds of cultural or political differences. The EU furthermore believes that democracy is the only political system which can fully realize all human rights. The European Union is founded on a strong engagement to promote and protect human rights, democracy and rule of law worldwide.
Sustainable peace and stability, long-term development and prosperity cannot exist without respect for human rights and democratic institutions. This commitment underpins all internal and external policies of the EU.
Outside EU borders, the Lisbon Treaty (Art 21) stipulates that the Union’s action on the international scene shall be guided by the principles which have inspired its own creation, development and enlargement and which it seeks to advance in the wider world: democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, the principles of equality and solidarity and respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law.
Conscious that the respect for human rights and democracy cannot be taken for granted, the EU strongly believes in empowering individuals and organisations promoting freedom, democracy and human rights throughout the world. It also actively engages in multilateral fora and supports efforts by regional organisations to further the human rights and democracy agenda.
Foreign policy: Relations beyond the neghbourhood
Asia is the world’s largest and most populous continent. It is of great geostrategic importance to the EU, which is forging closer ties with countries in South Asia as a strong economic player and a major development and aid donor, working to foster institution-building, democracy, good governance and human rights. The EU also has security concerns in the region, such as the Kashmir conflict.
- Title V (EU external action) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU);
- Articles 206-207 (trade) and 216-219 (international agreements) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU);
- Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCAs) (bilateral relations).
- South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
The EU encourages regional integration and supports the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). The member countries of the SAARC, include India and Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Development cooperation between the EU and the countries of South Asia covers financial and technical aid as well as economic cooperation. Priorities include regional stability, poverty alleviation, human rights, sustainable development, good governance and labour rights. EU-SAARC cooperation seeks to promote the harmonisation of standards and the facilitation of trade, and to raise awareness of the benefits of regional cooperation.
The EU-India Agenda for Action 2020, adopted at the 2016 summit, sets up forums for foreign policy and security consultations. India is a nuclear power, like its neighbours Pakistan and China, but there are also a number of security problems, armed border clashes and reports of severe human rights abuses and violations of women’s and children’s rights, particularly in Kashmir (Indian-Administered Kashmir).
EU-Pakistan relations date back to 1962 and are currently based on the 2004 Cooperation Agreement. The EU, as a major development and aid donor, supports the promotion of democracy and institution-building in Pakistan. The EU has serious concerns about the human rights situation and the special military courts in Pakistan. In August 2019, the EU extended its support to Pakistan with a EUR 4million programme to fight against terrorism after the EU-Pakistan Strategic Engagement Plan in June 2019. However, relations with India deteriorated following India’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
UNDERSTANDING THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT’S DELEGATIONS
The European Parliament’s delegations are official groups of MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) that maintain and deepen relations with the parliaments of non-EU countries, regions and organisations. In this way, delegations serve as Parliament’s primary link to other legislatures, at home and abroad. Working in cooperation with Parliament’s committees and with MEPs supporting democracy and human rights beyond the EU’s borders, delegations reinforce the positions of the European Parliament. By exercising parliamentary diplomacy through regular discussions, delegations also promote the EU in general and encourage their partners to respect the EU’s values and interests.
FOCUSING ON DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Many delegations also involve the European Parliament’s Democracy and Elections Coordination Group (DEG) in their work. This body, headed by the Chairs of the AFET and DEVE committees, oversees Parliament’s efforts to reinforce democracy and human rights beyond the EU.
This delegation is responsible for inter-parliamentary relations with Pakistan. The present Vice-Chair of the delegation is Milan ZVER MEP – Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats)
- The full list of EP members and their activities can be found here: DSAS (2019-2024)
India and the EU are strategic partners and global players on the world stage, but a lot of potential still remains untapped.
The present Vice-Chair of the delegation is Tudor CIUHODARU MEP – Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament
- The full list of EP members and their activities can be found here: D-IN (2019-2024)
Plenary debate on the human rights situation in Kashmir
Tuesday, 17 September 2019 – Strasbourg
Geographical area: Pakistan, India
The European Parliament considered the situation in Indian-Administered Kashmir (IAK), following the Indian Parliament’s withdrawal of the constitutional guarantee of political autonomy in Jammu and Kashmir, where the long dispute between India and Pakistan over the region has resulted in ongoing violence. The Kashmiri people have been deprived of a voice in the management of their affairs.
Kashmir is a disputed territory, recognised as such by the United Nations. It is effectively been under military occupation with an army that’s been allowed to maim and murder without any proper supervision or jurisdiction.
Tytti Tuppurainen (President-in-Office of the Council) made the statement on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (2019/2815(RSP))
The following spoke: Traian Băsescu, on behalf of the PPE Group, Maria Arena, on behalf of the S&D Group, Shaffaq Mohammed, on behalf of the Renew Group, Gina Dowding, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group, Bernhard Zimniok, on behalf of the ID Group, Geoffrey Van Orden, on behalf of the ECR Group, who also replied to a blue-card question by Fulvio Martusciello, Idoia Villanueva Ruiz, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group, Milan Uhrík, non-attached Member, Richard Corbett, Phil Bennion, who also replied to a blue-card question by Bernhard Zimniok, Klaus Buchner, Silvia Sardone, Nosheena Mobarik, Neena Gill, Gilles Lebreton, Ryszard Czarnecki, Giuliano Pisapia, Julie Lechanteux, Anthea McIntyre and Dinesh Dhamija.
Under the catch-the-eye procedure the following spoke: Søren Gade, Juan Fernando López Aguilar and Chris Davies.
Conclusion of the debate: This exchange of views was very useful and timely. The EU will continue to monitor the situation closely, with a key focus on de-escalating a situation involving two nuclear powers (India and Pakistan).
Following the conclusion of the debate a resolution has not been adopted. More information about the rules of procedure can be found below, under Legal basis.
Rule 132 : Statements by the Commission, Council and European Council
“2. When placing a statement with debate on its agenda, Parliament shall decide whether or not to wind up the debate with a resolution. It shall not do so if a report on the same matter is scheduled for the same or the next part-session, unless the President, for exceptional reasons, proposes otherwise. If Parliament decides to wind up a debate with a resolution, a committee, a political group or Members reaching at least the low threshold may table a motion for a resolution.
3. Motions for resolutions shall be put to the vote at the earliest possible voting time. The President shall decide on any exceptions. Explanations of vote shall be admissible.
4. A joint motion for a resolution shall replace the motions for resolutions tabled previously by its signatories, but not those tabled by other committees, political groups or Members.
5. If a joint motion for a resolution is tabled by political groups representing a clear majority, the President may put that motion to the vote first.
6. After a resolution has been adopted, no further motions may be put to the vote unless the President, in exceptional circumstances, decides otherwise.“
European Parliament Resolution on Kashmir (2007) : present situation and future prospects
This report correctly contrasts the situation between the world’s largest secular democracy which has devolved structures at all levels – India, including Jammu and Kashmir – and Pakistan. It is also constructive as it highlights the common heritage shared by India and Pakistan, exemplified in the ancient culture of Jammu and Kashmir, and recognises and values the pluralism, multiculturalism and multi-faith nature and secular traditions of the peoples of Jammu and Kashmir, which have been kept alive in the Indian part of Jammu and Kashmir. This is an enlightened and balanced report, which promotes a vision of peace, coexistence, friendship and economic integration and commerce between peoples on both sides of the border and in Gilgit and Baltistan along the lines of the European Union model.
- The full resolution is available at the following link: Resolution on Kashmir
- The transcript plenary debate is available at the following link: Kashmir present situation and future prospects
European Parliament resolution of 10 July 2008 on allegations of mass graves in Indian-Administered Kashmir
Thousands of civilians have been the victims of extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances, torture, rape and other serious human rights abuses which have occurred in Jammu and Kashmir since the beginning of the armed conflict there in 1989. Shamefully, most of these crimes have not been fully resolved to date. Furthermore, there is real concern about the safety of human rights activists, including those who are seeking to investigate the fate of the many missing persons.
In this resolution, the Members of the Parliament strongly condemn all acts involving human rights abuses in the region and call upon all governments concerned to show a strong will to uphold the rule of law and justice and to redouble their efforts in order to secure full investigations into the politically motivated crimes committed in Jammu and Kashmir in the past.
It is the duty of all democratically elected governments to investigate such findings fully in complete transparency, and to try and trace those whose bodies are there and their relatives, so that we can fully understand the situation and not apply various interpretations to it which might not be the truth.
- The full resolution is available at the following link: Resolution on mass graves
- The transcript plenary debate is available at the following link: Allegation of mass graves in Indian-administrated Kashmir