The European Parliament's All Parties Group (APG-EP) has released Joint Statement  regarding the points agreed in the COVID-19 Kashmir conference regarding human rights situation amidst coronavirus pandemic in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK). 

Following are the points stated within the Joint Statement:

 

1. We agreed to organise and to hold a Covid-19 Kashmir Conference via video link to take stock of happenings in IAJK on the ground. We have in the past over the years either followed the conflict or have been a part of it. Individually, we made recommendations, advised the international community and undertook concrete proposals to overcome the deadlock in that territory in the Himalayas. Pertinent United Nations Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir must be implemented, as well as the recommendations contained in the 2018 and 2019 Reports of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

 

2. Now we want to bring together our knowledge, our experiences, our aspirations, our ideas and our proposals to ensure that the fundamental human rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir  are protected and promoted and their right to self-determination realized, as stipulated in Article 1 common to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights.

 

3. We know that the conflict in Jammu and Kashmir is not the only burning subject in international politics, but we shall continue to undertake all such measures to maintain the Kashmir conflict higher on the agenda at the international fora.

 

4. We are conscious that the crisis around Covid-19 Pandemic is overshadowing all other pressing issues worldwide. Therefore, we are especially concerned, during these unprecedented times, that the Indian authorities are using the Pandemic to silence Kashmiri voices by eradicating Kashmiri leadership and demoralising and destroying civil society. We call for international solidarity in joining forces to resolve the Covid-19 crisis and endorse the United Nations Draft Declaration on the Right to International Solidarity.

  

https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Solidarity/DraftDeclarationRightInternationalSolidarity.pdf

 

5. We are concerned that the Indian constitution was modified in order to change the status of Kashmir (allowing a demographic development to convert Kashmiris into a minority in their own land and the process has already began) and that IAJK is sealed off since the beginning of August 2019 including internet shutdown - nonetheless, information has been smuggled out that most of the political and civil society key leaders have been arrested or put under house arrest. We are filled with consternation that those imprisoned are exposed to other prisoners affected by Covid-19.

 

6. We note with satisfaction that the United Nations Secretary General has asked the Indian authorities to release the Kashmiri leaders and other political prisoners.

 

7. We urge other international institutions to join and to support the efforts of the United Nations.

 

8. We urge the European Parliament to continue with their strong involvement (through Urgency Resolutions, Initiative Reports including physically sending official delegations to both parts of Kashmir, Global Discourses, Exhibitions) in overcoming the conflict.

 

9. We urge the European Union, via its European External Action Service (EEAS), to use their direct and indirect diplomatic channels to underline that any trade agreement will not be achieved, if the human rights situation (and especially the situation of those prisoners) is worsening and that India through sheer force attempts to implement its planned demographic change contrary to international law and the United Nations resolutions on Kashmir. Further, we urge the Organization of Islamic Co-Operation (OIC) to adopt similar policy towards India as we have recommended the European Union.

 

10. We urge the Indian government to allow international organizations to evaluate those prison conditions and to urgently prepare the conditions under which the detained Kashmiri leaders and other political prisoners can be freed.

 

11. We urge the Indian government to restore complete internet services including G4.

 

12. We urge the three sides - India, Pakistan, Kashmiris - to take concrete steps to enter into direct negotiations at a neutral location - Geneva - within the next 12 months.

 

 

 

This joint statement is adopted on Friday, 17 April 2020 at the conclusion of the COVID-19 KASHMIR CONFERENCE (through Video Link).

 

Prof MEP Klaus Buchner; President, All Parties Group on Kashmir–European Parliament (APGK–EP);

President Carles Puigdemont (MEP) of Catalonia, Member of APGK-EP;

Professor Alfred de Zayas – First (former) Independent Expert on the Promotion of Democratic and Equitable International Order – Professor of Law and History at Geneva University;

Senator Mushaid Hussain Syed – Member of the Pakistan Senate and Chairman of Pakistan Senate Foreign Affairs Committee;

Prime Minister (former) Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan – Patron of All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference;

Sarah Owen, Member of the British Parliament, MP;

Julie Ward, Former Member of the European Parliament for the North West England from 2014-2020;

Professor Nazir Ahmed Shawl – Executive Member of OKC;

Professor Josep-Lluis Alay – Associate Professor of Asian History at the Faculty of Geography and History, University of Barcelona;

Professor William Schabas – Professor of International Law at Middlesex University;

Victoria Schofield – Author and Historian;

Shamim Shawl – Permanent Representative to the United Nations, IMWU;

Graham Williamson – Chairman, Nations Without States;

Frank Schwalba Hoth – Founding Member of the German Greens and one of the first Green members of the German Parliament and the European Parliament;

Dr. Asif Dar – A Kashmiri activist and Human Rights Defender;

Altaf H Wani – Chairman, KIIR

Waqar Malik – PAK Media Centre, EU;

Abdul Latif Bhatt – Kashmir Watch;

M. Ashraf Wani – APP;

Zulfiqar Ali – Journalist and author;

Shaista Safi – TV Anchor and Kashmiri Youth Activist; and

Barrister A Majid Tramboo – Executive Member of OKC and IHRAAM Permanent Representative to the United Nations