Civil movement

Challenges for freedom of movement in Kashmir | By Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai

Challenges for freedom of movement in Kashmir

Washington, Who does not know the historic date of December 10, 1948? It was on this day that the United Nations adopted one of its first major achievements, known as the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (UDHR).

The Assembly proclaimed the Declaration “a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations”. “Freedom of movement” is included in the declaration.

The clear trend of modern history is towards greater individual freedoms. The guarantee to move freely in a country or in this global village is one of the greatest individual freedoms that man has ever had.

There are different levels of freedom. But perhaps the purest expression of freedom is that of movement. This is exactly what the Berlin Wall illustrated. The Berlin Wall was not a defensive barrier or an obstacle to keep Germany’s enemies away, but it was a wall to keep ordinary citizens belonging to the same family away from each other. Fortunately, this Berlin wall has come down. He does not exist anymore. But we still have many more Berlin Walls with different names like the one known as the ceasefire line in the occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The European Community has realized the importance of freedom of movement and has adopted legislative measures guaranteeing this very important right. These measures aim to abolish national discrimination by Member States and to ensure that a citizen of any country of the European Community can live and work without restriction in the Member State of his choice.

Europeans now pass and move freely from one country to another. No more security checkpoints and border guards. Europeans have understood that freedom of movement is fundamental to all economic freedoms.

It is difficult for people, like the people of the troubled land of Kashmir, to understand the true meaning of declarations, such as ours is a global village, where we have to abide by the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human rights and its principles. For them, these principles and these slogans are never real. The reality is different because people are arrested as long as their executioners want and there is no recourse to legal defense. In such cases, the United Nations remains a silent observer, prevaricating in the application of its will, particularly when the persons concerned are isolated from civilized scrutiny.

How can I ask the people of Jammu and Kashmir to trust the principles of the United Nations; how can I ask them to believe in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and how can I make them believe in this right to “freedom of movement”, when they see that those who violate the will of the United Nations are not subject to the economic and political pressure specified by article 13, paragraph 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 12 (2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Covenant.

The UN Human Rights Council must consider whether or not a member state’s behavior is consistent with its commitment under Articles 55 and 56 and is justified in “a democratic society”. . When looking at the actions of the state in light of UN pronouncements, many more questions arise about its commitment to protecting freedom of movement.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee, established by a 1966 human rights treaty, has declared that states are responsible under the Political Covenant for violations of a person’s rights recognized in this Covenant and committed by its agents in the territory of another State.

The United Nations and its affiliated organizations have a stake in the substance of this right – freedom of movement – in Indian-occupied Kashmir. Since 1947, the inhabitants of this country have not been able to exercise their right to internal and transnational movement. Instead, they suffered the pain of four displacements, expulsions, exiles and refusal to return. Kashmiri refugees, overshadowed by the international crisis, from Syria to Afghanistan to Myanmar to Ukraine, say the world has forgotten them. And, like refugees around the world, they say one of their greatest hardships is uncertainty.

In Indian-occupied Kashmir, a disturbing pattern of violations of the right to freedom of movement is ongoing. As these occur during armed conflict in the exercise of the right to self-determination, international scrutiny is imperative. Violations of the right to freedom of movement by Indian forces can be characterized as violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention in addition to violations of international human rights law standards.

Dr. Nazir Gilani, President of JKCHR, says: “There is a special guarantee of freedom of movement, including legal entry and exit, given in the United Nations Security Council Resolution of April 21, 1948. locals and many others to and from the Valley is at a standstill. So much so that the Indian administration rejected the request made by the officials of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit the valley.

Here are some examples of violations of the right to freedom of movement that have occurred in Jammu and Kashmir.

1. Jammu and Kashmir is a political and geographical entity artificially divided by a ceasefire line which came into being as a result of United Nations intervention.

2. The movement of all is restricted when an entire locality is subjugated, which is locally known as a crackdown in Kashmir. The whole locality is besieged by the Indian army during cordon and search operations. When the entire male population of an area is detained in a particular place, in the open, sometimes in sub-zero temperatures, sometimes in extreme heat, rain without food and water all day which can even extend to certain parts of the night.

3. The frequent control and harassment of roadblocks, the humiliation of civilians, including medical personnel and firefighters trying to perform their duties, have greatly impeded the movement of people in their own country. There have been numerous occasions when the Indian Army has fired on vehicles killing and injuring people while on the move.

4. Travel to hospitals has also been restricted as the Indian Army has not spared and does not spare these institutions either.

5. Passports are selectively denied. Some political leaders have not received passports even to receive medical treatment outside India or simply to travel to other countries.

We urge the UN Human Rights Council to implement ECOSOC resolution 1990/78 adopted on July 27, 1990 for the benefit of those who have been deprived of their right to freedom of movement, forced to taking refuge elsewhere, displaced from their homes, exiled and driven from their homeland, examples; Dr. Ghulam Nabi Mir from USA, Nazir Ahmed from UK, Dr. Mubeen Shah who these days resides outside India and many more. We call on the UN and all its agencies to provide a coordinated response to immediately improve the living conditions of these people.

We also call on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in the name of humanity and justice, to help put an end to these atrocities and to listen to the cries of anguish and pain of the innocent people of Cashmere. If we fail to carry out this task, we will not respect the Charter of the Human Rights Council which has the mandate to give “meaning to the suffering of the human race”.

[Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai is the Chairman, Washington-based ‘World Forum for Peace & Justice.]