International Human Rights Day is observed on 10th of December every year. It commemorates the day on which, the United Nations General assembly adopted the Universal deceleration of Human Rights. This year’s human day is devoted to the launch of a yearlong campaign for the 50th year anniversary of the two International Covenants on the human rights, known as International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) adopted on December 16th 1966.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights along with these two core international covenants form the International Bill of Human Rights, setting out the civil, political, cultural, economic and social rights that the birth right of all human beings.

This year’s theme is “Our Rights Our Freedoms always,” the main aim is to promote and raise awareness about the rights and freedoms – Freedom of speech, Freedom of Worship , Freedom from want and Freedom from fear- which underpins the international Bill of Human Rights are as relevant today as they were when the covenant were adopted.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a mile stone document which set a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Like every nation and community people of Jammu and Kashmir also observe this day every year to make international community realize that they live on the same plant and deserve the same attention as other nations and communities. But history of International Bill of Human Rights and sufferings of people of Kashmir are of the same age.

Article 2 of the Universal declaration of human rights states, “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty” and Article 3 states,” Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

Article 2 of International Covenant on civil and Political Rights says, “All peoples have the right of self-determination”. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”.

For last seven decades people of Jammu and Kashmir are struggle to the realization of the rights as enshrined in United Nations Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other conventions and protocols. Right to self-determination is corner stone of all fundamental rights and freedoms and the same was promised to people of Jammu and Kashmir by no less authority than United Nations security. The denial of this right has led to a regime of human rights violations In Indian occupied Kashmir but unfortunately world has remained largely forgetful about these violations and the Indian state was encouraged to carry on its brutal repression against peaceful peoples resistance against Indian occupation. Each and every right of people of Kashmir has been snatched, even they are deprived of right to life by enacting such legislations which are contrary to International standards and are termed as draconian and lawless laws by International Human Rights Watch dogs. During Last 28 year over 100,000 people of all ages and sex were killed, over 10,000+ made forcibly disappeared, documents of International organization have documented 7000+ cases of extra-judicial and summary executions and rape and molestation, restrictions on freedom of assembly, arbitrary detentions, infringement on religious rights and freedom of expression in curtained in one or the other pretext by imposing restrictions on Internet and other means of communications.

Like past years, 2017 was marked with extraordinary cycle of violence. Militarized repression and indiscriminate state sponsored violence coupled with blanket impunity to armed forces, an upward trend in human rights violations, in the form of extrajudicial executions, injuries, illegal detentions, torture, sexual violence, arson and vandalism of civilian properties, restriction on congregational religious activities, media gags, and ban on communication and internet services, etc. The most fundamental rights of people were curtailed through the imposition of curfew, crackdowns nautical raids and continued violence.
Even when the world observed International human rights day and world leaders and organizations in their messages called for the promotion and protection of human rights killing spree and pellet horror continues in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Killing of Misra Begum of Langat Handwara , Tahira Begum of Shopian and Asif Iqbal of Kupwara is a grim reminder on the part of Indian state that they do not believe in protection and promotion of human rights. Every time a civilian is killed by Indian occupation forces take refuge in three word, “mistaken identity” “stray bullet” or “Cross firing.”

Despite cries of local and International human rights groups none of perpetrators is brought to justice. Everyone in Kashmir lives on a razor edge be it a political leader, activists, student, journalist or businessmen. Indian state has activated each and every organ of state machinery to create fear among masses. NIA and enforcement directorate have been activated to harass and malign political leaders, journalists and business men, abducted from Srinagar violation the norms of law these leaders and activists where put in Tahir Jail, where they face all types of discrimination and torture by Jail authorities and Hindu extremist groups backed by the government of India.

Justice remains elusive for all victims and whole population is being terrorized. The situation in Indian occupied Kashmir was best described by French Journalist Comiti Paul Edward who was arrested in Srinagar on 10th of December 2017. “I have covered conflicts across Iraq, Afghanistan, Congo, Israel and Palestine but this is the first time I was arrested and harassed. I feel the authorities are trying to stop the Kashmir story from reaching a wider international audience. The international media is stopped from reporting here. They do not want the happenings in Kashmir to be known internationally. They do not want it to be covered.”

India continues its militarized repression without any shame but how long will international community continue its criminal silence. If Human Rights are universal India must be held accountable for its crimes against humanity. People of Occupied Kashmir call upon the International community to treat Kashmiris partners in their campaign and help them realize their rights.

Altaf Hussain Wani is currently working as director programmes at Kashmir Institute of International Relations Islamabad. Wani has a masters degree I economics. Born in conflict zone opted to rights advocacy and peace building. Regular participant of United Nations Human Rights Council sessions at Geneva. Wani has worked closely with Institute of multi track diplomacy and Institute of faith based reconciliation Washington and conciliation resources London.

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