Srinagar, March 21, 2014 (PPI-OT): Alfred de Zayas, United Nations Independent Expert on the Promotion of Equitable and Democratic International Order, endorsed the statement delivered by Kashmiri human rights activist Shaista Safi, which she delivered via Skype from Islamabad.
The UN official appeared moved by the statement, where Safi, who is in her twenties, recounted how her family escaped from Indian-occupied Kashmir when she was four-years-old.Safi joined an international panel discussion on the sidelines of the 25th session of UN Human Rights Council on Geneva on Thursday.
The topic was Rights of Women and Children in Conflict. After listening to Safi’s statement, De Zayas turned to diplomats and international NGO representatives and said, “Shaista Safi’s story is a real story from Kashmir.”
“Children of occupied Kashmir live under constant crackdowns, curfews and military occupation, afraid of even playing outside due to the presence of Indian forces,” she told the audience. “94,000 Kashmiri martyrs belong to 94,000 Kashmiri families. Imagine the impact of this on the nation and children of that nation.”
“Being a part of separated family and a female,” she said, “I feel the pain of every child and women suffering and want every person in this hall to just experience this feeling for a moment to realize what it feels like to live under [Indian] occupation.”
APHC leader, Altaf Hussain Wani chaired the UN panel discussion. He said women and children face the brunt of war. They are either directly harmed or are forced to flee and become refugees, he said. Two international treaties, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of Child, deal with these issues.
In Kashmir, Wani said, India refuses to implement juvenile justice system. Sixty percent of schools in Kashmir are occupied by the Indian Army. Kashmiri children have no playgrounds or parks. Kashmiri children grow up robbed of a normal life or sporting and entertainment activities.
APHC leader Ishtiyaq Hameed talked in detail about the suffering of Kashmiri women and children under Indian military occupation. Hameed recounted his and his family’s experience as Kashmiris who were forced to escape their homes and lives because of the threat of torture and killings by Indian occupation soldiers.
Apart from the UN official, Princess Michelline Djouma of Cameron, Chairperson of OCAPROCE, an international NGO accredited with the United Nations in New York and Geneva, said she has been working on Kashmir for a long time.
The human rights situation in Kashmir, she said, is not satisfactory. The NGO, OCAPROCE, sent recommendations on Indian-occupied Kashmir to the UN last year, she said, confirming that her organization will send a fresh set of proposals to concerned UN agencies. Moroccan rights activist Malaninie Saadani said the people of Morocco support the just struggle of the people of Kashmir for their rights and for their freedom from Indian military occupation and forcible annexation.
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