Kashmir and Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Dr Muhammad Khan
Each year, December 10 is celebrated as international human rights day. On this day in 1948, United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). December 10, 2018 is being celebrated as the 70th anniversary of the declaration. Three years after the establishment of United Nations Organization with a clear Charter, adoption of this declaration in 1948 was a milestone in the history of human being. This declaration proclaimed the inalienable rights “which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being — regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
Today, the declaration is most referred and read document at global level. Besides, it is the most translated document in the world, “available in more than 500 languages.” The declaration contains all safeguards for human beings, starting from right to live and right to prosper and grow. The only wanting aspect, which has been noted, is the implementation of this document in letter and spirit. The implementation of this noble declaration has been found wanting in third world countries like in the case of Kashmir, Palestine and most of African countries.
Article-1 of the declaration calls for innate freedom and equality, which means right to act, speak, or think as one wants with total freedom and liberty. The article further explains that, ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.’ In the case of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), there is neither innate freedom nor any sort of equality for the people of State. The Kashmiris of IOK may have borne free but, there is no freedom for them in their practical life, starting from childhood. Each day, the children going to school have to pass through Indian military check posts, where they are checked physically, intimidated frequently or at least have to listen humiliating remarks of security personnel like “Still you want freedom?” “You want to go Pakistan?” Apart from deprivation of freedom, there is no equality for the Kashmiri Muslims with people of other religions even in their own state. Compare to Hindus and Sikhs, Muslims are looked down in IOK.
Article-2 of the Declaration demands ‘ban on discrimination’ of any kind; religious, racial, gender or age. In IOK, literally, the Muslims have to face discrimination of all sorts; indeed, they are victims of religious and racial discrimination and humiliated by people of security forces and intelligence agencies with total impunity. The state subjects of IOK are facing direct and indirect discriminations at the hands of security forces and puppet administration. Muslims of the IOK are discriminated in all spheres; the recruitment, employment, promotions, transfer and other advancement opportunities. The sole criteria for the dismissal of Kashmiri Muslims are; ‘do they want freedom from India or have pro Pakistan sentiments’.
Right to life is enshrined in Article-3 of the declaration. As per Universal Declaration of Human Rights and UN Charter, “right to life is a moral principle based on the belief that a human being has the right to live and, in particular, should not be killed by another human being.” In IOK, the Kashmiris are deprived of this basic right. Killing of any Kashmir (especially Muslim) is a routine matter for the Indian Security forces. For this purpose, two discriminatory laws are still imposed in IOK since 1990. These include; Armed Forces Special Power Act and Public Safety Act. Both discriminatory laws provides total impunity to Indian Army and its paramilitary forces to kill, detain, arrest, torture or humiliate anyone, just on suspicions. There is no accountability of the armed forces personnel for committing all such acts in any part of IOK.
Indeed, with these laws, Indian security forces have the licence to kill Kashmiris. According to BBC, Amnesty International has urged India revoke these laws and restore basic human rights in IOK. India, rather revoking those laws has further stepped up its drive to kill all those Kashmiri youth, having an iota for the freedom. Minar Pimple, senior director of global operations, Ammensty International says; “This lack of accountability has in turn facilitated other serious abuses” in IOK. “By not addressing human rights violations committed by security force personnel in the name of national security, India has not only failed to uphold its international obligations, but has also failed its own constitution.”
Indeed, contrary to the UDHR and UN Charter, India is perpetrating gross human rights violations in IOK. Whereas the torture is ban according to Article-5 of UDHR, Indian security forces use torture as a weapon after the arrest of Kashmiris. In fact, the Kashmiris are not given the basic right of recognition as a person before the law and India still want Kashmiris to be called as its subjects. According to Eleanor Roosevelt, “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. […] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”
Today, on the eve of 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights and 71st anniversary of Indian occupation of Kashmir, the people of Jammu and Kashmir looks towards UN for the implementation of its resolutions and towards international community to persuade India to bring an end to human rights violations in IOK and give them their right of self-determination. In this regards, Kashmiri stands for; right to live, right for equality, right for justice and right for their dignity. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights empowers us all, therefore let’s empower Kashmiris too for their basic rights as per the spirit of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.