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Thank You for Supporting Kashmir Flood – Fundraising Update

Thanks to all who support and donated for flood relief for Kashmir and attended the fundraising Dinner . Below is the abstract of the amount raised . World Kashmir Diaspora Alliance will keep you informed about further program in order to achieve the goals that have been set.

I will also keep you informed about the disposal and recipients of these funds as and when it takes place.
Meanwhile if you have any suggestion please feel free to advise us.

finances

Article: Plight of Kashmir’s forgotten refugees

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An article by Laura Schuurmans:

Thursday, May 15, 2014 – In January 1948, the then Indian Premier Jawahar Lal Nehru brought the Kashmir question to the United Nations Security Council. The resolution by the Security Counci l bound both India and Pakistan to grant the people of Jammu and Kashmir a plebiscite for determining the future of their disputed territory.

A month later, UN proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stating that all citizens of the world uphold the inalienable right to freedom, justice and peace. More than sixty years later and in spite of UN resolutions, Kashmiris in the Indian occupied territory have not been granted the right to vote in a referendum.

Ironically, international community’s commitment to the people of Kashmir has also waned over the decades. The dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir has not only jeopardized regional peace and security, the Kashmiris per se have become the core victim of the conflict and they have mostly been forgotten.

Few people around the world are aware of the suffering of Kashmiri refugees who fled from Indian Occupied Kashmir around the globe during late 1980s and early 1990s. To date, Pakistan is has been offering refuge to more than 7,000 families roughly comprising 35,000persons in and around Muzaffarabad. Those Kashmiris mostly arrived from Kupwara and Baramulla district and they fled in fears of persecution by Indian security forces after allegedly being accused of siding with the “militants.”

Kashmiri families were often left with no choice but to abandon their farmhouses, livestock and to leave behind close relatives in search for safety and survival. Many of the refugees including women and children became the subject of beatings, torture and even sexual assault by Indian occupying forces.

In the midst of the night, families fled bare feet through dense forests, over land mine fields crossing the Line of Control towards Pakistan. Some escapes only lasted a few hours but others took days to reaching Pakistan. There have been accounts of some young women who left their family homes at night alone, to be reunited with their husband who had earlier escaped persecution. Although some families have settled down and have fully integrated into mainstream society, the majority continues to live under harsh conditions in refugee camps. Many of the refugees including a new generation of children have been dealing with serious psychological disorders, traumas and also physical disability.

While the local government has made efforts to alleviate some of the suffering of the Kashmiri refugees, financial restraints have caused some obstacles in achieving their objectives. Today, many of the refugees are yearning to go home to the other side of the Line of Control for re-uniting with relatives whom they have not seen for decades. Others are looking for improved living conditions. Unanimously all Kashmiri refugees are still waiting for the UN sponsored plebiscite.

The international community has not hesitated to condemn the plight of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, or to point a finger at the occupying forces that have forced the Palestinians out of their ancestral homeland. Presently, the predicament of the Syrian refugees has been the prime focus of international media attention. These are great human tragedies but these pale in comparison to the loss of humanity in Kashmir at the hands of proclaimed largest democracy on earth.

Having said this, be it politicians, international aid organizations, or U.N. sponsored agencies, hardly anyone has taken serious interest into the plight of the Kashmiris to alleviate some of their suffering and to improve the overall living conditions of the Kashmiri refugees in and around Muzaffarabad.

While the international community has not only turned a blind eye to Indian human rights abuses in the occupied territories of the disputed Kashmir region, it has entirely disregarded the implementation of the basic UN Resolutions for a referendum in Kashmir.

Moreover, if the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country” why the Kashmiri refugees cannot go home? Indian authorities even blocked the telephone lines from Azad Jammu and Kashmir to the Indian side of the Line of Control. The people of Kashmir evidently need help, and they need large scale assistance be it on the humanitarian front, to receive political and diplomatic support, or be it financial assistance to building schools, health centers, housing and basic infrastructure.

There is a long road towards Azadi (liberation) in Kashmir, and that ultimately road of Kashmiri freedom cannot be accomplished alone without support of the international community.

As long as the West continues to neglect the plight of the Kashmiri refugees including all Kashmiri citizens and those scattered elsewhere in this world, their long road to Azadi will continue to be faced with numerous of hurdles that will prevent their dreams from coming true. Kashmir’s plight could have been avoided if the international community had been committed in taking serious interest in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region just like they did in East Timor, Sudan and other conflict ridden regions.After all, it was the UN that approved both the resolutions on Kashmir and also the Universal Declaration on Human Rights to make this world a more peaceful place. Regretfully, those who have been advocating freedom, justice and peace are also the ones who have silently closed their eyes, who have looked the other way, and who shamelessly have distanced themselves from the beautiful people of Kashmir.

WKDA Appreciates European Parliament for its Support to Kashmir-EU Week

Source – Srinagar, Nov 22 (KNS): World Kashmiri Diaspora Alliance Chairman Farooq Papa has expressed his appreciation for European Parliament members especially Vice President of the European parliament His Excellency Edward McMillan Mr. Sajaad Karim and Ms. Jean Lambert in supporting the successful Kashmir EU week in European Parliament.

In a statement issued in Toronto on his arrival from Brussels, the WKDA Chairman said that we are pleased with the deliberation and interactions with various members of the parliament who were appreciative of our pro Kashmir initiatives for building peace and resolving the Kashmir issue.

Farooq papa said that he discussed the proposed two phased All Peoples Kashmir Convention to be held in Brussels (Europe) and Niagara Falls (North America) with the PAK President and will also send the proposal to all political leaders in the state to debate and find solutions to those issues that are faced by Kashmiri people due to prolonged non resolution of final settlement.

The statement added that the people of Kashmir especially the business community in and outside Kashmir will have to play a leading role in supporting this indigenous initiative to facilitate the success of Niagara Convention. The statement added that about 200 hundred people from Indian controlled Kashmir and about as many as from PAK comprising of political leaders of all thoughts and inclinations, technocrats, business people, academicians, legal expert along with sociologists and journalists are on the list of participants who will have the chance to put forth there point of view for debate in the Convention. We intend to invite US congressmen and Members of European Parliament as observers for the convention.

This is the first step towards building peace in South Asia as peace in South Asia is dependent on the resolution of Kashmir; Statement added. (KNS)

The Forgotten Massacres of Kashmir

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Article by Laura Schuurmans:

On the morning of January 20, 1990 there was a demonstration on the streets of Srinagar. In itself this was not an unusual occurrence. The 1987 elections, which were widely regarded as having been rigged, had deprived Kashmiris of any effective political voice. Street demonstrations were one of the few remaining avenues open to different interest groups wishing to express publicly a dissenting point of view. Accordingly in the period following the elections street demonstrations became a feature of life in Srinagar. This particular demonstration, however, was to prove especially significant.

Just prior to the demonstration the government of Farooq Abdullah had been dissolved and the province placed under the direct rule of the Indian President. The President, looking for someone able to crush dissent in the Province appointed Jagmohan as Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. The new Governor came with the reputation of being strongly anti-Muslim. Anticipating increased social and political unrest as a result of this appointment the Indian authorities deployed police paramilitaries and launched a series of night time raids against the civilian population targeting families of alleged activists and taking many people away for questioning.

Despite the raids, several thousand Kashmiris assembled in Basant Bagh, Habba Kadal and Gawkadal and started moving towards Lal Chowk, one of Srinagar’s main squares. The march was entirely peaceful. The Indian authorities, however, became alarmed by the size of the crowd and placed the city under curfew. Additional armed police were mobilized and put onto the streets. The demonstration was still entirely peaceful. The marchers reached the narrow wooden Gawkadal Bridge where they were confronted by armed paramilitaries from the Central Reserve Police Force. As the demonstrators moved forward the police fired on the marchers with live ammunition.

Official figures issued by the Indian administration put the number of casualties at 35 dead. Local human rights organizations put the figure at around 200 dead including those demonstrators who jumped off the bridge into the river to avoid the shooting and subsequently drowned. The incident quickly became known as the Gawkadal Massacre.

The killing of unarmed demonstrators triggered massive protests throughout Kashmir and left a long-term legacy of social unrest. Many young Kashmiris left home and crossed into Pakistan either to avoid arrest and torture or to seek arms and training to continue the struggle for freedom.

The period following the Gawkadal Massacre was one of the most violent in the history of Kashmir. Both the freedom fighters themselves and ordinary civilians paid a terrible price. It is only recently, however, that the full extent of the human rights abuses that took place at this time has become clear. A study by the Kashmir-based organization International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice led to the publication in 2011 of a report entitled Buried Evidence. Research for this report was undertaken by Parvez Imroz, a Kashmiri human rights lawyer who holds the prestigious Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize.

The report makes a horrific reading. Between 1989 and 2009 an estimated 70,000 people died from causes directly resulting from the conflict while a further 8,000 people have disappeared their whereabouts being unknown. The report identifies some 2.700 unmarked mass graves in the Kashmir Valley containing more than 2,943 bodies. The report also cites evidence of the systematic torture of prisoners by the Indian security forces.

Under the Geneva Convention civilians are protected during periods of armed conflict. Thus Article 3 of the Convention demands humane treatment for all persons in enemy hands, without distinction and specifically prohibits murder, mutilation, torture, cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment, the taking of hostages and unfair trials.

In the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region, however, the Geneva Convention has been disregarded. Instead India has claimed that the armed conflict in the region was not a liberation struggle by the local population but was actually a war against foreign militants fighting on behalf of Pakistan. The vast majority of people who were killed in the conflict were ordinary civilian Kashmiris who found themselves caught between pro-independence and pro-Pakistan fighters and the Indian security forces.

The disappearances have created another quite special dilemma for Kashmiri society. The wives of men who have been taken by the Indian security forces, whose whereabouts are unknown and where no body has been received for burial have come to form a new class of ‘Half-Widow’. These women are often seriously disadvantaged. Instead of being considered as widows and treated accordingly the Half-Widows of Kashmir are often neglected by the husband’s family who do not consider themselves responsible for the Half-Widow and her children. The Half-Widow has to struggle to bring up her children alone, to cope with the uncertainty of not knowing her husbands fate and is denied the possibility of finding economic security through re-marriage.

The International Community has largely ignored the Kashmir question. In 2008, the European Parliament passed a Resolution about the Mass Graves. This resolution called on the Indian government “to urgently ensure independent and impartial investigations into all suspected sites of mass graves in Jammu and Kashmir, and as an immediate first step to secure the grave sites in order to preserve the evidence”. Regrettably, no action has been taken to follow up on this Resolution.

The silence of the International Community, including the United Nations, on the question of human rights abuses in Kashmir is hardly surprising. For Europe struggling to lift the Euro zone out of recession, the issue of expanding trade with India is seen as a top priority. Europe’s leaders have been reluctant to broach any issue with the Indian government which might have negative consequences for trade relations. For the United States on the other hand, the focus has been on its programme of nuclear cooperation with India and on its geo-strategic interests in the Indian Ocean. Here the priority is to counterbalance the perceived threat from the rising political influence of China in the region.

A political solution to the conflict in Kashmir is not possible in the absence of a thorough independent investigation into the killings, forced disappearances and mass graves. Undertaking such an investigation requires that the experiences of the Kashmiri people and the abuses of their human rights that have taken place are recognized and their existence acknowledged. Only by confronting the reality of the situation will there be any prospect of bringing a lasting peace and political stability to an especially volatile part of South Asia where two nuclear powers confront each other across a poorly defined international border.

—The writer, a Jakarta-based research analyst, writes exclusively for Pakistan Observer.

Kashmir EU Week Starts on September 9, 2014

KASHMIR EUWEEK (1)

Kashmir is not part of India or Pakistan nor is it an Independent country unless determined by peoples of Kashmir by a referendum .Until such time Kashmir has its own unique acceptance in European Parliament and US Congress because it being on the United Nation Agenda. No other state or Province of India or Pakistan has this status and also do not compare it with any other rebel conflicts or insurgencies around the world.