Conference in Brussels for raising Kashmir issue in Europe
BRUSSELS: Speakers of a panel discussion in Brussels at the EU headquarters have urged the world community to play its role to stop severe human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK).
The debate titled, “The Victims of A Forgotten Conflict” was organised the Kashmir Council EU and International Community for Human Development (ICHD) on the eve of International Human Rights Day at European Press Club in the capital of Belgium.
Anthea McIntyre, co-chair of the Friends of Kashmir Group in the European Parliament, and her fellow MEP, Julie Ward, noted photojournalist of Belgium Cédric Gerbehaye, Chairman Kashmir Council EU Ali Raza Syed and former ambassador of EU Anthoney Crasnerwere among the speakers at the event.
Gerbehaye displayed his photos which he snapped during his recent visit to Kashmir, explaining how he saw the miseries of the people of the valley. The photographer said he is not a politician and his comments are not a political statement but he thinks it is important to show to the world the severe psychological trauma among the people of Kashmir. There is no treatment for such pain; it is necessary to help to bring them out of the trauma, he said,
A documentary film on Kashmir was also shown to the participants of the event.
Anthea McIntyre, co-chair of the Friends of Kashmir Group in the European Parliament, said she is trying to bring a delegation to Kashmir next year. It would help to create more awareness on facts about Kashmir, she said, adding that there is a need to do so.
MEP Julie Ward said Kashmir and Palestine issues share similarities but Kashmir has been unable to garner as much world attention. We have to know the reasons behind Kashmir issue which could help in finding a suitable solution of the problem, she added.
Both MEPs appreciated the efforts of Kashmir Council EU for the Kashmir issue in Europe.
The speakers said that the Kashmir issue has been on the agenda of United Nations for seven decades and since 1989, more than 70,000 people have died, more than 8,000 people have been simply disappeared, and more than 6,000 mass graves have been filled in the Kashmir valley.
There have been countless cases of torture and sexual violence and forced disappearances and moreover, since last year, the use of pellet guns resulted in at least 300 hospitalisations in Srinagar, including 16 cases in which the patient lost their sight completely, participants were told.
The speakers said that unfortunately violence and human rights violations in India-held Kashmir are rapidly increasing. Lack of freedom of speech and restriction on peaceful protest has become and everyday matter in the occupied territory, they pointed out.
KC-EU’s Chairman said, we have pledged to continue our struggle till achievement of inalienable right to self-determination of the people of Kashmir. He said that the extrajudicial killing of Kashmiris especially military forces’ attacks on peaceful protesters is a routine matter, and no one is safe.
He termed this as a brutal act and a violation of fundamental human rights of people, saying: “But it cannot deter the people of Jammu and Kashmir from their demand for right to self-determination”.
“We will continue to make the international community especially Europeans aware of the atrocities in occupied Kashmir and the facts about the severe situation related to human rights in Kashmir. “We want to uncover real and ruthless face of India.”