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(2017-09-19) Mr. Vice President,

Does the Human Rights Council even care what is going on in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir? Will it remain a silent spectator, just to hear speeches? Fortunately not all are silent.

Some have spines. Even Indian Human Rights activists are appalled. Aakar Patel at ‘Losing Sight in Kashmir’ said: “True, denial of justice happens across India and not just in Jammu and Kashmir. But deliberate denial of justice happens only in Jammu and Kashmir.” Only those human rights defenders who can bear the pain may dare to see this pictorial report.

Let us hear the children blinded by Indian pellet guns speak through me in the Council since they are not allowed to travel abroad by India for even treatment. Class 5 student Asif Muhammad Sheikh says: “Watching cartoons on TV, playing with my friends on the street, reading books for hours – this is what I dream of now. “13 year old Muslim Nazir tells us: “I was hit as I was leaving the mosque after evening prayers.” 17 year old girl Ulfat Hameed shares with us: “I used to teach sewing and tailoring to girls in my village, but not anymore. Because of the injuries, I couldn’t write my class 10 board exam.” India must allow the injured to travel aboard. They must be given a chance to see again – live again.

Shattered dreams and broken promise – Would these words define the story of Kashmiris? The cries of the helpless though at the time of oppression seem harmless to the tyrant, but when embodied with human conviction and belief become unbreakable and insurmountable force. The children and youth in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir throwing stones at the barbaric Indian forces knowing that they could be blinded or killed with impunity, is a testament of their unwavering spirit and desire for their right to self determination, a right guaranteed to them by UN Security Council resolutions.

We expect the international community to stand resolutely with the helpless Kashmiri women and children and forcefully call India to end its persistent, systematic human rights violations. If not us then who would become the voice for the protection of the basic human rights of Kashmiris, their right to self determination, and most of all their human dignity. Isn’t the Council made for this very purpose?

Human Rights violations in IOK must not go unnoticed. Such silence on account of political and economic expediency is a manifestation of blatant double standards. This practice of double standards damages the credibility of the proponents of human rights and defeats the purpose for which this Council was created.

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