PEACE & SECURITY, DEVELOPMENT AND HUMAN RIGHTS:  
    AN INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE & ROUND TABLE


    Geneva, 19 March 2009 - International Council for Human Rights (ICHR), in association with
    International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (IHRAAM) hosted an Interactive
    Dialogue & Round Table at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The event entitled Peace &
    Security, Development and Human Rights as Pillars of the UN System ran in parallel to the 10th
    session of the Human Rights Council and discussed the state of the three pillars since the
    inception of the United Nations and their relevance to the modern world.

    The comprehensive and distinguished list of speakers included Barrister A. Majid Tramboo
    Chairman of ICHR and IHRAAM's permanent representative to the UN Geneva, Prof. Alfred de
    Zayas Public and International Law professor at the Geneva School of Diplomacy &
    International Relations, Prof. Krishna Ahoojapatel UN Representative Women's Int. League for
    Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Prof. Joseph Wronka, professor of Social Work, Springfield
    College, Massachusetts and author of Human Rights and Social Justice, Ms. Victoria Schofield,
    South Asia Analyst & Distinguished Academic, Mr. Shah Ghulam Qadir, the Chairman Kashmir
    Institute of International Relations, Princess Michelene Makou Djouma, the International Co-
    ordinator and UN representative for OrganisationCamerounaise de Promotion de la
    Coopération Economique Internationale
    (OCAPROCE) and Mr. Ronald Barnes Chair of Indigenous Peoples and Nations Coalition (IPNC).

    Barrister A. Majid Tramboo opened the interactive dialogue and round table by outlining the
    changing nature of the three pillars of the UN.  He noted that the definition of peace  & security
    has changed since the inception of the UN and, as such, new ways of tackling "old" problems
    have been sought. The concept of Human Rights has taken root and has now entered the daily
    lexicon used by governments, NGOs and international organisations around the world. The
    significance of which is embodied by the three sessions of the Human Rights Council that take
    place each year and the universal periodic review in which the human rights record nations
    are reviewed and then discussed by all of the members of the HRC.  However, despite the
    significance of global
    human rights and the increasing amount of importance that the UN places on these rights
    there is still a long way to go before they are afforded to many of the people in the world.

    Barrister A. Majid Tramboo expressed serious concern over the continuous gross human
    rights violations by India in the Indian Held Kashmir. Very recently the issue of land mines has
    come to surface which allegedly had been laid down by the Indian military and paramilitary
    forces at the various parts of Kashmir.

    There is the issue of nameless and mass graves which has been also reported by the United
    Nations working group on enforced and involuntary disappearances as well as an urgency
    resolution passed by the European Parliament, unfortunately no independent and impartial
    investigation has been conducted by the government of India on this issue. Arrests and
    detentions take place as a matter of routine in Indian Held Kashmir. Hundreds of political  and
    human rights activists are being detained without any charge or trial including Saleem Nanaji
    and Farooq A. Dar of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, Shabir Ahmad Shah of Jammu Kashmir
    Democratic Freedom Party and Masrat Alam of Jammu
    & Kashmir Muslim League.

    Prof. Alfred de Zayas began by stating that the concept of human rights is not the flavor of the
    month. It is the most noble commitment of men and women of good will, who believe in peace
    and development and who want to make this a reality not just for elites but for all human
    beings in all regions of the world.

    The problem with the United Nations -- as with every human institution -- is that member States
    work for their perceived interests, not for human rights or human dignity.  Thus it is the task of
    the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to persuade States that it is in their own
    interest to play by the rules.  The principle of equality and non-selectivity is crucial for the
    credibility and good functioning of the system.

    There are many States who apply human rights -- or for that matter international law -- à la
    carte.  Today they invoke human rights with regard to a particular country or region, they point
    fingers, they engage in naming and shaming. Tomorrow they keep quiet when the violations
    occur in their own territory or in the territory of an allied or friendly State.  Here again it is the
    task of the Office of the High Commissioner and of moral authorities throughout the world to
    insist in the necessity of honesty and consistency in the application of human rights norms.  
    This requires patience and continuing education. In this context UNESCO has an eminent
    challenge to fulfill.  Most importantly, the human right to peace must be vindicated.  Peace is
    the condition for the enjoyment of all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.  And
    peace is not just the absence of war -- it is the
    presence of all those elements that make peace possible -- disarmament, mutual respect,
    equality and social justice. The Spanish Association for the Advancement of International
    Human Rights Law (AEDIDH) has adopted an important document: The Luarca Declaration on
    the Human Right to Peace.  This declaration was formally submitted to the Human Rights
    Council on 15 March 2007 and has been discussed worldwide in international seminars and
    congresses.  It is to be hoped that it shall be adopted  by the Human Rights Council in 2010.  As
    of today 164 non-governmental organization endorse this initiative.  The International Labour
    Office has given us a motto that is worth reflecting on -- si vis pacem, cole justitiam. If you want
    peace, cultivate justice.  Indeed, there can be no peace in the world when social injustice
    prevails in so many countries, when millions of persons suffer
    hunger and extreme poverty.  We must change our priorities and ensure the implementation of
    the millennium development goals.

    Prof. Krishna Ahoojapatel began by expressing her agreement with the comments that
    Barrister Tramboo has made about the human rights situation in Kashmir and then discussed
    development and industrialisation. The distinguished professor noted that all development
    processes had been intervened in by western nations and that this had resulted in many
    problems for the least developed nations of the world. Since 1994 the  USA, the world's only
    superpower, has been shying away from multilateralism and towards unilateral trade
    agreements. The entire UN system of the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation and the
    International Monetary Fund was allowing
    capital flight from the poorest nations of the world to the richest and this is part of the reason
    for the current global economic crises. She noted that if we are to achieve peace in the world
    then there needs to be less hypocrisy within the largest International Organisations of the
    World.

    Prof. Joseph Wronka began by stating that to achieve global peace we first need to eradicate
    global poverty. The global disparity of incomes is a leading factor in global turmoil. Prof.
    Wronka implored civil society to demand that the governments of the world tackle poverty and
    extreme poverty by meeting their legal commitments under the Convention to Eradicate
    Extreme Poverty as well as several other international agreements to that end. He noted that
    the human rights mechanisms and treaties are pillars of a globally just world and noted that the
    right to peace should be paramount on the agenda of the Human Rights Council.

    Ms. Victoria Schofield started by outlining some of the "new" security threats that the World is
    facing. These are the rich/poor divide, international crime, terrorism, environmental concerns
    and migrations. Examining them in the context of Jammu & Kashmir she noted that the people
    of Jammu and Kashmir had been unable to attain their human right to peace. Ms. Schofield
    believes
    that the valley of Jammu and Kashmir is a victim of four of the above five points, excluding the
    threat of international crime. The people of Jammu and Kashmir have been suffering from
    economic deprivation and this has led to frustration. She discussed the first ever economic
    survey of Kashmir that was carried out by the Indian sponsored government if Indian Held
    Jammu and Kashmir in 2007. The findings of the report were glaring illustrations of the growing
    rich/poor divide.

    Firstly, Jammu and Kashmir lags behind in development aspects including per capita income,
    healthcare, communications and literacy. The per capita income of the state is only two thirds
    of the national average. On communications the story is little different. On average there is
    one post office to serve an area of 60sq km which is three times greater than the rest of the
    country. On the social infrastructure side the outlook is even more bleak. In 2006 there was on
    average one medical institution servicing 3000 people, 71% of homes do not receive drinking
    water, the literacy rate is 55% as opposed 64% in the rest of India. Such disparities have the
    potential to threaten political security and without peace then security is always under threat
    and this is made worse by social deprivation.

    The second threat is terrorism. This can be state terror and unlawful killings of civilians the
    greatest example of this being the mass graves that have been discovered in the state.
    Unlawful killings of civilians and the use of illegal force has not brought peace and security but
    has exacerbated it. For instance the recent terror attacks in Mumbai where immediately
    blamed on the Kashmiris and this has had a negative effect on the peace process. Terrorism is
    a threat to peace and security in Kashmir because it sets back dialogue.

    Thirdly, environmental concerns. Kashmir is one of the most beautiful places on the world and
    if the environment is destroyed then peoples incomes will suffer. The damage that occurred in
    Kargil in 1999 caused lots of damage to the weavers of the region and disrupted an entire way
    of life. Also, on the Sichuan glacier the high levels of military activity is leading to a great deal
    of environmental
    pollution which could have a serious affect on the water supplies for many of the people of
    Kashmir.

    Finally there is the issue of migration. The compulsion of so many of the Kashmiris of the valley
    to migrate due to political repression has effectively led to them having the right to live in
    their homeland taken away from them.

    These are ways in which the four modern threats to world peace can be related to Jammu and
    Kashmir and a speedy resolution of the conflict would go a long way to neutralizing them.

    Mr. Shah Ghulam Qadir began by discussing the universal declaration of human rights. The
    problem, he said, lay not in the document itself but in the implementation of that document. If
    we look at the Peace & Security problems all over the world we have to ask why there is such a
    disparity between Peace & Security in the developed world and the developing world. He
    pointed out that in chastising developing countries the countries of the developed world
    made little attempt to discuss the human rights record of countries with which they shared
    political and economic interests and this has a direct effect on the discussion of human rights
    abuses in Kashmir.

    Princess Michelene Makou Djouma highlighted the need for a socio-economic approach to
    improving human rights of marginalised communities, particularly women and children,
    emphasising the role of education and the need for skills based training. She argued that this
    approach was crucial for breaking the cycle of extreme poverty in Africa and easing its
    dependance on aid.

    Mr. Ronald Barnes discussed how in the name of peace and security the previous US
    administration fostered a doctrine of pre-emptive defense and this has had a negative effect
    on Peace and Security across the globe. He went on to outline the difference between
    terrorists and "freedom fighters" and pointed out that even on his 90th birthday Nelson
    Mandela was still on the US terror list.

    He then discussed how the realisation of the right to self-determination of people all-over the
    world is critical to the peace and security of the world. Mr. Barnes stated his belief that if the
    HRC could achieve the goals set out in its mandate then we would be closer to solving many of
    the problems of peace & security, development and human rights across the globe.

    Barrister Tramboo then opened the floor for the interactive dialogue where questions were
    put to the panel before the interactive dialogue and round table was adjourned.

    -The End-