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KCEU Host India UPR 2012 -
A Kashmir Perspective at the United Nations in Geneva
Thursday, 28 June 2012 - ICHR Kashmir Centre.EU, in association with IHRAAM, today hosted a side event at the 20th
session of the Human Rights Council entitled India UPR 2012 - A Kashmir Perspective.
Speakers included Barrister A. Majid Tramboo, Chairman of Kashmir Centre.EU Brussels, Prof. Alfred de Zayas,
United Nations Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Dr. Karen
Parker, Geneve representative for International Educational Development, Prof. Krishna Ahoojapatel, Geneva
representative for Womens International League for Peace and Freedom, Prof. Nazir Shawl, Chairman Kashmir
Centre London, Mr. Altaf Hussain Wani, Chairman Kashmir Institute of International Relations and Mr. Ronald Barnes,
reprenetative for Indigenous Peoples and Nations Coalition.
Barrister A. Majid Tramboo opened by outlining the current position of the Indian UPR and discussed the 169
recommendations that were submitted to India by the Human Rights Council regarding its second UPR.
He noted that there were numerous recommendations to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Ratify the
Convention Against Torture and the Convention for the Protection of All Persons From Disappearance along with their
optional protocols, to abolish the death penalty, to end immunity for the armed forces, to better train the police in their
human rights obligations and to repeal other draconian laws.
Tramboo gave prominence to the statements made by the United States, Norway, Belgium and the United Kingdom
which were very critical of the aforementioned human rights abuses carried out by India.
However, he noted, states failed in their obligation to raise the issue of mass graves in Kashmir; the first of which were
discovered in mid 2008. He offered his commitment to continue to pursue the issue with the Human Rights Council
and to persist in advocacy to have it raised in the current UPR of India.
On the mass graves Mr. Tramboo called it one of the most disturbing human rights violations of modern times. He
said that it was unfortunate to see that the Indian Government had not taken heed of the 2008 European Parliament
Urgency Resolution on Mass Graves in Kashmir. He further noted that while the mass graves issue has only
marginally made it onto the agenda of the Human Rights Council the Kashmiri diaspora will continue to lobby for
justice at the highest levels with both states and the mechanisms of the Office of the HIgh Commissioner for Human
Prof. Alfred de Zayas Said that aiming and shaming has an impact, that is the point of the UPR process. He said that
civil society should continue to lobby hard on the UPR of states that commit human rights abuses as it was a very
visible mechanism by which to attempt to force change.
Dr. Karen Parker argued that Kashmir should not come under the remit of the India UPR as Kashmir does not belong
to India. Had the UN resolutions been implemented and the people have Kashmir had chosen to a part of India then
this would be a different matter.
Furthermore, Dr. Parker said that due to the situation in Kashmir being an occupation all cases of serious human
rights abuse should be treated as a war crime but this was not the case.
Dr. Parker then raised the Jalil Andrabi case in which a human rights defender was murdered by an Indian army officer
on his return from a session of the Human Rights Council. His body was found floating in a river having been bound
by the hands and feet. Under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act the officer was given immunity for the crime.
Discussing self-determination Dr. Parker said that five criteria must be met in order for a people to be able to claim
their right to self-determination. Those are an identifiable land, a distinguishing element such as language or culture,
a history of self-governance, the will to exercise the right to self-determination and the capacity to govern. She said
that Kashmir undoubtedly met all of the relevant criteria.
Prof. Krishna Ahoojapatel noted that the number of recommendations was very high for India in its second cycle of
UPR and many of them focussed on serious human rights abuses such as disappearance, torture, immunity as little
progress had been made on these matters.
Discussing the UPR process as a whole Prof. Ahoojapatel said that it was the most powerful mechanism available in
order to name an shame those states who do not follow their human rights obligations. She further noted that civil
society has to play a considerable role in the UPR process as states are often not willing to be critical of other states
unless they are historical enemies.
Prof. Ahoojapatel further discussed the rights of women and the rights of children noting that India is making no
progress or very little progress in improving the conditions as recommended in the first round of UPR.
Prof Nazir Shawl focussed on the points of disappearance, the AFSPA, and torture. On disappearance he once again
called upon the Government of India to first sign the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Disappearance
and also to investigate the mass graves in order to ascertain if the bodies there can be reunited with their families as
is proper. He noted a number of cases, particularly the Pathribal case, in which the Indian military and para-military
forces had recevied immunity for murder, torture and all other manner of human rights abuses.
Prof. Shawl further noted that the reason the Government of India had not yet ratified the Convention Against Torture
had to be two fold. Firstly, they simply did not have the will to stamp out torture as they see it as a useful tool that is
available to the police despite this being illegal under international law. Secondly, he noted that torture is so
widespread that to sign the CAT would put India in a position where tens of thousands of their own officers would have
to face prosecution every year and this was a pill they would be unlikely to swallow on the international stage.
Altaf Hussain Wani described the Kashmir conflict as the longest running case of severe human rights abuse in the
world. He said that the 700,000 Indian troops stationed in Kashmir amount to almost one soldier for every ten
citizens. Calling upon the international community and the offices of the OHCHR to increase pressure on the
Government of India to put an end to the cycle of violence he offered his hope that the people of Indian Held Kashmir
would not have to suffer for very much longer.
Mr. Ronald Barnes outlined the principles of self-determination as laid out in the UN Charter and numerous other
international treaties. Relating it to the issue of Kashmir he said that it was of grave concern that the issue of
self-determination had not been raised by a single state with reference to Kashmir.
Concluding the interactive dialogue Mr. Tramboo thanked the panelists and audience and assured all of them that the
suggestions and ideas floated in the debate would be strategised and eventually advocated before the member states
KCEU has also been hosting a week long exhibition outside the United Nations to raise awareness of the human rights
tragedy in Kashmir.