MIRPUR (AJK)

The Azad Jammu & Kashmir people renewed the pledge to continue individual and collective role to break the shackles to ensure freedom of peace-loving brethren of Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir suffering the slavery for over 67 years.

In the 19th century, the international community came together to declare slavery against humanity. Today, governments, civil society and the private sector must unite to eradicate all contemporary forms of slavery, including bonded labour, speakers said while addressing special meetings to mark the Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

Special meetings including seminars in various parts of AJK were the hallmark of the day. Addressing the special sittings, speakers emphasised the world to ensure freedom of the people of Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir who are fighting against the much-prolonged Indian rule for the last 67 years. they called for immediate grant of right to self determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir under the spirit of the international norms and commitments particularly the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions on Kashmir.

The speakers included Chairman Jammu & Kashmir Human Rights Commission Humayoon Zaman Mirza. He urged the member states of the United Nations, foundations and other donors to support the UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery so that civil society can carry out essential projects for the rehabilitation and redress of victims.

“We also need clear strategies, strong national legislation and a commitment to coordinate the fight against this crime’’, speakers  said calling upon all the states to ratify and implement the relevant instruments of international law particularly the new protocol drawn up by the International Labour Organisation, which is designed to strengthen global efforts to eliminate bonded labour.

As per United Nations estimates, there are more than 18 million bonded labourers. Each day, women are trafficked, sold and locked in brothels. Every day, young girls are forcibly married, sexually abused or exploited as domestic workers. Twenty-five years after the adoption of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, boys and girls are still working in appalling conditions. Men, separated from their families, are still being locked in clandestine factories, working in situations of bonded labour with negligible wages and remote chances of ever repaying their debts.