Ahead of the G20 meeting in Srinagar, UN Independent Expert Fernand de Varennes has issued a stark warning on the worsening human rights situation in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir. Ever since the annulment of the region’s special status by the Government of India in 2019, human rights violations have significantly escalated. De Varennes is particularly troubled by the Indian government’s attempts to utilize the G20 meeting as a means to gain international credibility and normalize the situation, which some consider as an effort to legitimize a military occupation.
These actions are raising concerns about the human rights situation in Kashmir among many. Previously, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk also expressed his concerns about the matter.
STATEMENT OF UN EXPERT ON KASHMIR AHEAD OF 620 MEETING 15 May 2023 -
"""Human rights violations have risen drama tically in lndlan-administered Jammu a nd Kashmir since 2019 when the" "Government of India revoked the specia I status of the region"",warned a UN Independent Expert, one week before a scheduled G20 meetingIs scheduled to be held in Srinagar." "holding a G20 meeting of the working group on tourism on 22-24 May•, warned Ferna nd de Va rennes, UN" "Special Rapporteur on minority issues, ""the Government of India Is seeking to norma lize what some have described as a military occupa tion by instrumenta lis ing a G20 meeting and portray a n interna tiona l 'sea l of approval "", despitl! what Volker Turk, the U.N. high commissioner for huma n rights, told the U.N. Human Rights" Councila few weeks ago was a @worrying huma n rights situation In the Kashmir region. "The Special Ra pporteur issued a statement today describing the mas sive rights violations as including tor tur e," "extrajudicial killings, denial of political participation rights of Kashmir! Muslims and minorities , following the suspension of democr atic rights and locaI elections with direct rule from New Delhion 6 August 2019." """The situation there has - II anything - become much worse since myself and fellow UN Independent experts" "transmitted a communication to the Governmeniof India In 2021. We then expressed our grave concerns that the loss of political autonomy and the Implementation of the new Domicile Rules and other legislation could alter the demographic composition of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir, may result in political disenfranchisement, and significantly reduce the degree of political participation and representation of the Kashmiri and other" "minorities previously exercised In the former state,undermining their linguistic, cultural and religious rights,he said.""On all counts this seems to be occurring on the ground,In a repressiveand sometimes brutaI environment of" "suppression of even basic rights ""." The Independent Expert noted that there have been reports of significant numbers of Hindus from outside the "region moving Into the region so that dramatic demographic changes are underway in Jammu and Kashmir to overwhelm native Kashmlris in their own land""." "Accordi ng to de Varennes , the G20 is unwittingly providing a veneer of support to a facade of normalcy at a time when massive huma n rights violations, illegal and arbitrary arrests, political persecutions ,restr ictions and even suppression of free media and human rights defenders continue to escalate. ""International human rights obligations and the UN Declaration of Human Rights should still be upheld by organisations such as the G20"",he added, concluding that ""the situation in Jammu and Kashmir should be decried and condemned, not push under" "the rug and ignored with the holding of this meeting.
30-"Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of Independent experts and the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Coundl's Independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either spedfic country situations or themalic Issues In all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are Independent from only government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
Narendra Modi-led fascist Indian government is attaching and demolishing the properties of the Kashmiris to punish them for their affiliation with the ongoing freedom movement. Modi regime has confiscated the head office of APHC in Srinagar and many properties and lands owned by Jamaat-e-Islami, its leaders and activists, and other citizens across IIOJK to victimize them for their role in and affiliation with the Kashmiris’ ongoing struggle for securing their rights to self-determination. Recently, it prepared a list of over 190 more properties for confiscation and demolition in IIOJK.
The confiscation of the properties of the Kashmiri people is a sheer political vendetta on the part of the Modi government. The brutal policy being pursued by the Modi regime has not only rendered the Kashmiris homeless. On the other hand, Indian troops are regularly destroying Kashmiris’ houses during violent military operations. The killing of Kashmiris in fake encounters and the destruction of people’s properties have become a norm in occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The occupation authorities have demolished several properties of the pro-freedom people with the sole purpose to victimize them for opposing India’s illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir.
Political experts and analysts pointed out that India has exhausted all its resources and applied every brutal tactic to suppress the ongoing Kashmir freedom movement but failed to deter the people of Jammu and Kashmir from carrying on their just cause. The international community must take cognizance of the Modi regime’s brutal actions in IIOJK.
Congress dubbed the violence in Manipur ‘pre-planned’ and demanded immediate imposition of President’s Rule in the state. Congress in-charge for Manipur, Bhakta Charan Das said, “BJP government has utterly failed to control the situation in Manipur. It has been unable to stop the violence, unable to stop weapons from being looted or recover them, unable to rescue innocent people and unable to provide facilities to those in relief camps. In this situation. We demand that President’s Rule be immediately imposed to stop these incidents (of violence) that are happening even now.” At least, 1700 homes have been damaged and more than 200 churches and temples burnt. He alleged, “BJP government both in the State and at the Centre betrayed the people of all communities of Manipur.
No democratic process was initiated either by the Union or the State government to fulfil these demands. Instead, conflict was triggered through undemocratic actions by the State government, including sudden evacuation of villagers from 38 villages in forest areas, the spread of violence by BJP functionaries at protest sites, and provocation from the Chief Minister with his arrogant utterances.” Congress leader Bhakta Charan Das said, “The condition in Manipur is visible to the country and world and I have been working in Manipur for the last three years. There are two areas — hill area and the valley area.” He said that “the hill area is vast and people have many complaints. They have demanded development”.
He pointed out that for decades all the communities have been living peacefully and no clashes had taken place in the past. Dubbing the incident of violence as heart-wrenching and serious, he said: “No democratic process was initiated either by the Centre or the state government to fulfil these demands. Instead, conflict was triggered through undemocratic actions by the state government, including sudden evacuation of villages from 38 forest areas, the spread of violence by BJP functionaries at protest sites and provocation from the Chief Minister with his arrogant utterances.” Congress leader said that during the rallies by the All Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur in all hill districts of the state on 3 May, which was largely peaceful in the beginning as a memorandum was given to the District Collector at the end of the protest. Comparing the two Manipur organisations Arambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun with the RSS and the Bajrang Dal, Das said: “It is during this time that two special forces like RSS and Bajrang Dal were created. One is Arambai Tenggol and the other is Meitei Leepun. They were in black clothes and moved around in a group of hundreds on bikes with guns. They entered police stations and police training centres and looted the armoury.”
He said that they also burned churches, looted villagers, and created fear among the people. Questioning the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress leader said: “Why the Prime Minister had not appealed for peace in the area?” He also questioned the absence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in the state following the violence. “We want President’s rule in Manipur to ensure law and order in the state and bring more accountability,” Das added.