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OIC demands to end curfew, human rights violations in IOK

The international body of Muslim countries has issued a strong worded statement, a major diplomatic win for Pakistan

OIC

News Analysis |

In a major development, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has strongly condemned the “ongoing security clampdown, communications blockade and denial of religious freedoms to Kashmiris in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IOK).”

The statement of the OIC came after Pakistan’s foreign office repeatedly contacted the organization and urged it to do the needful. OIC has also asked India to immediately end curfew and violations of human rights in the valley of Kashmir.

The statement issued by the OIC is important for two reasons. Pakistan was not expecting any strong reaction by the organization since most of the member states have deep economic ties with India.

The organization of Muslim states has also demanded an international fact-finding mission in order to ascertain the state of human rights in IOK.

Secondly, OIC could not come to the front in recent history to condemn blatant human rights violations in IOK. Now a strong-worded statement by the OIC is a diplomatic win for Pakistan and vindication of her stance over the internationally recognized dispute.

According to a statement, the OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission: “Local and international media have widely reported the fact that Kashmiris were prevented from offering the congregational Eid prayers at Srinagar’s historical Jama Masjid and other mosques for fear of protests against the government.”

Since nobody is allowed to come out of their homes in IOK, it has worried and deeply concerned the OIC. The commission added: “These arbitrary and unjustified administrative measures have prevented Kashmiris from performing their religious rites, a blatant violation of the right to freedom of religion, which includes the right to manifest one’s religion in teaching, practice, worship and observance, guaranteed in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief and other international human rights instruments.”

Read more: UN & OIC Urge Restraint: Indian Human Rights Violations Condemned

The OIC stated it was “further appalled by the worsening humanitarian situation arising due to long curfews and closure of economic and social activities, which are causing severe hardships for the patients to reach hospitals and general population to replenish food and fuel supplies. These and other similar restrictions, constitute collective punishment of the populace and a grave violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, hence deplorable and detestable.”

In a welcoming move, the OIC has demanded the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently intervene and stop human rights violation in Jammu and Kashmir where the government of India is breaching both international as well as domestic laws.

The FM pleaded the case of Kashmiris and urged the OIC members to look into gross violations of human rights and categorical breach of the International Law.

“While welcoming the recent statement of the UN secretary-general on the ongoing situation in IOK, we call upon him and the UN high commissioner for human rights to urgently intervene to urge the government of India to: (a) immediately lift the curfew in IOK and restore fundamental freedoms and liberties to Kashmiris; (b) release all political leaders and other political prisoners; (c) respect their right to peaceful assembly, protest and movement; (d) remove the information and communication blackout and allow freedom of expression and press ensuring reporting of facts; (e) avoid resorting to violent means including use of any forms of lethal weapons against unarmed demonstrators; (f) bring an end to the economic blockade; and (g) withdraw its security forces from Kashmiri towns and villages,” the statement read.

The organization of Muslim states has also demanded an international fact-finding mission in order to ascertain the state of human rights in IOK.

“Last but not the least, the OIC reiterates its fullest support to the call made by the UN high commissioner for establishing an international fact-finding mission to Jammu and Kashmir, under UN auspices, to independently ascertain and report on the human rights situation on ground,” the OIC statement mentioned.

Read more: “Kashmir is burning”, protests outside Indian High Commission in London

Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, recently went to attend an emergency meeting called on the request of Pakistan. The FM pleaded the case of Kashmiris and urged the OIC members to look into gross violations of human rights and categorical breach of the International Law.

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