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(2017-09-09) The OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) reiterates its strong concern on the ongoing reign of terror unleashed by the Indian Security Forces against innocent Kashmiri Muslims in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK). Indian occupation machinery has shamelessly used all kinds of oppressive policies to silence the voice and destroy the will of Kashmiri people through use of torture, arbitrary arrests and unlawful killing of thousands of innocent civilians including women and children, though without any success. Kashmiri Muslims continue to exhibit a strong resolve for their inalienable right to self-determination, a right guaranteed to them by the United Nations.

Since last year the conflict in IoK has acquired a new dimension. After decades of repression, Kashmiri youth has taken upon itself to lead the freedom struggle and to demand their right to self-determination in a peaceful manner. Unfortunately, their peaceful protests have met the usual oppression involving new methods of torture and violence such as use of pellet guns on innocent and unarmed civilians including women and children that resulted in dozens of killings, more than 250 blinded and thousands sustaining serious injuries. Use of innocent youth (tied on army jeeps) as human shield, use of rape as a method of collective punishment, attacks on ambulances, harassing and arbitrary arrests of Kashmiri leadership, prohibition of Friday prayer congregations, Media and electricity blackouts to disrupt normal life and communication have become the daily routine of Kashmiri Muslims.

In a joint press release in May 2017, UN Special Procedures expressed concern over the media bans and restrictions on freedom of expression in IoK as a continued worrying trend aimed at curbing protests and social unrest in the region. They also called upon Indian authorities to guarantee the freedom of expression and to seek a solution for the social and political conflicts of the region through an open, transparent and democratic dialogue. However, despite strong protests both from the national and international human rights organizations including the United Nations and the OIC, Indian Government continues to let loose its repressive regime on innocent Kashmiris, who remain steadfast in pursuit of their legitimate right to self-determination.

During its recent fact finding visit to Azad Jammu and Kashmir, IPHRC delegation met with the refugees, representatives of political parties and civil society from IOK and took note of the serious and widespread complaints of the gross human rights violations by the Indian forces against innocent Kashmiris. In its detailed visit report to the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in July 2017, IPHRC expressed deep concern on the reports of continuous violation of the right to life, right to freedom of expression and opinion, right to peaceful protest and assembly and other fundamental human rights of the Kashmiri people including denial of their inalienable right to self-determination, guaranteed by International human rights law and promised by the UN Security Council Resolutions. It also expressed serious concern over reports of increase in the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force against unarmed and innocent civilians and human rights activists by the Indian forces with impunity, resulting in torture, extrajudicial killings, rape and mass blinding through use of pellets.

IPHRC calls upon the United Nations in particular the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently dispatch a fact-finding visit to Jammu and Kashmir to independently ascertain and report on the human rights situation on ground. IPHRC also renews its call upon the Government of India to allow all international human rights organizations including IPHRC to visit Jammu and Kashmir for independent review of the human rights situation on ground.

In conclusion and in line with the principled position of the OIC, the Commission stresses the importance of resolving the conflict in a peaceful manner through negotiations and in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. It also urges the OIC countries and the international community of their obligations to help ensure implementation of relevant UN resolutions.

09 September 2017

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