Kashmir EU-Week 2015
“Speaking with One Voice” was the theme of the 2015 Kashmir-EU Week that took place in the premises of the European Parliament. The conference brought together academics, non-governmental organisations, experts and parliamentarians from Europe and Kashmir to present the latest research findings and to analyse the latest political developments in the region. It is important to mention that a large number of Kashmiri diaspora leadership has participated in our high-level conference. Kashmir has been turned into an international flashpoint and a humanitarian disaster. It is now the world’s most militarized zone. The huge number of security personnel deployed regularly commit all kinds of human rights violations, such as extrajudicial executions, custodial torture and deaths, sexual harassment, rape, and forced disappearances.
Kashmir is in crisis: an international and human rights crisis. The people of Jammu and Kashmir are the victims of this crisis which shows no signs of being resolved. This crisis threatens the peace and security of the wider region – one of the most volatile in the world. A solution is urgently needed. The EU as an organisation which proudly stands for human rights worldwide should stand with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Highlights of the programme:
Session I: Emerging Shadows of War
- This session was chaired by Mr Afzal Khan MEP and the co-host of the 2015 Kashmir-EU Week. One of the most notable contributions to the discussion was made by Mr Khurram Parvez, a human rights activist from Jammu and Kashmir, who drew attention to a recent report (Structures of Violence) released by the Association of Parents of Disappeared People (APDP) and International Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-Administered Kashmir (IPTK). The report that documents over 972 cases of human violations perpetrated by the Indian military personnel, including torture, rape, and extrajudicial killings. To date, none of the perpetrators responsible for committing such grave acts have been prosecuted. This is due to a lack of commitment from India’s political and security forces leaders to hold officials and troops accountable, and a set of Indian laws ( I.e. draconian laws – Armed Forces Special Powers Act & the Public Safety Act) that render it difficult or even impossible to prosecute abusers in the employ of the state.
Session II: What Really is the Way Ahead?
- The second session of the conference was chaired by Dr Sajjad Karim MEP and the co-host of the 2015 Kashmir-EU Week. To date, the Indian state has been able to side-step international human rights conventions through a set of laws which grant special rights to the armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir. This has led to a serious climate of impunity in Jammu and Kashmir. This session has concluded with a resolution that called on the EU to use its good relations with both India and Pakistan to encourage both countries to sit around the negotiating table and put forward the steps needed to be taken that would pave the way towards a peaceful solution based on justice and according to the will of the Kashmiri people.
The photos from the event are now available in the gallery or by clicking here.