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Agenda Item 4: Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention
Oral intervention by Professor Nazir A. Shawl

International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (IHRAAM)
at the 38th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
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Losing Sight in Indian Administered Kashmir

Mr. Chairman

The use of firearms is always potentially lethal. The Governments of India and Jammu and
Kashmir, to everyone’s surprise, have used metal pellet-firing shotguns against Kashmiri
people in the Kashmir valley since at least 2010. The shotguns fire a large number of small
pellets spreading over a wide range. There is no way to control the trajectory or direction of
the pellets, whose effects are therefore indiscriminate. By their very nature, the weapons
have a high risk of causing serious and permanent injuries to the persons targeted as well as
to others. These risks are virtually impossible to control.

Pellet-firing shotguns, are blinding, killing and traumatizing hundreds of people in Kashmir.
People injured by pellet-firing shotguns have faced serious physical and mental health issues,
including symptoms of psychological trauma. School and university students who were hit in
the eyes continue to have learning difficulties. Several victims who were the primary
breadwinners for their families fear they will not be able to work any longer. Many have not
regained their eyesight despite repeated surgeries.

The Central Government in New Delhi and Government of Jammu and Kashmir must
immediately stop the use of pellet-firing shotguns and ensure that the use of all other
weapons is in line with international human rights standards on use of force. Authorities
should also provide full reparation in line with international standards to those injured by
pellet-firing shotguns and to the families of those killed.

The UN Human Rights Council and the High Commissioner for Human Rights should ensure
that these pellets are not fired on Kashmiri civilians.

I thank you Mr Chairman.