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Resolution urges US Congress to oppose Indian atrocities & curfew in occupied Kashmir

US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has submitted a resolution in the US House of Representatives, urging the US Congress to force India to put an end to the ongoing human rights violations and communications blockade in occupied Kashmir. It also urges India and Pakistan to engage in dialogue and settle the longstanding disputed territories issue.

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US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib introduced a resolution in the US House of Representatives, urging Congress to forbid the use of force against the civilian population in Indian occupied Kashmir. The resolution urges for opposing the use of any kind of force “against civilian populations by governmental and non-governmental actors alike.”

The resolution also urges the US Congress to “opposes and condemns the use of pellet shotguns and rubber bullets as a crowd-control method in any case.”

Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian Arab and a noteworthy human rights activist, was one of the first US lawmakers to condemn India’s unilateral actions of August 5 that witnessed the forceful annexation of the occupied valley of Kashmir. Tlaib urged the Narendra Modi-led government to reconsider its unilateral decisions, put an end to human rights abuses, and respect the basic rights of the Kashmiri people.

US urged to Aid Kashmir

Rashida Tlaib, US Democrat from the 13th district of the state of Michigan, in the resolution, also urged the US Congress to affirm that “any changes to the status of Jammu and Kashmir must be made with the direct consultation of the Kashmiri people, who must play a central role in the determination of their future.”

Resolution 724 highlighted that Kashmiris living in America and across the world have been unable to reach out to their family members in the occupied Himalayan valley since the communication blockade was imposed on August 5, 2019. It noted that “press accounts and human rights observers have documented that the actions of the Government of India in imposing a communications blockade have inhibited access to life-saving medical care.”

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Highlighting India’s security services’ excessive use of force against unarmed civilians, the resolution highlighted that international human rights observers have documented the “use of pellet shotguns, tear gas, and rubber bullets against protestors, as reported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.”

The resolution also highlighted that the “Government of India has used the arrest and indefinite detention of thousands of people to control civilians of all ages, including minors as young as nine, in Jammu and Kashmir using the Public Safety Act, which violates article 9(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

Lift Blockade & Restore Normalcy

The resolution wants India to immediately put an end to all remaining elements of the communications blockade imposed on the occupied territory, including internet access, and restoration of phone services. It calls upon the US Congress to ensure that New Delhi allows the provision of healthcare services to all citizens in occupied Jammu & Kashmir.

It condemns the ongoing violations of human rights across the valley, and voices support for the Kashmiri right to self-determination. The resolution notes that New Delhi has unilaterally altered the partially autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir without consulting or obtaining the consent of the people.

Resolution 724 highlights that the Narendra Modi-led government has kept the people of occupied Kashmir under a strict curfew, with restrictions on freedom of expression, movement, and assembly. It points out that the “Government of India has detained Kashmiri civil society leaders of all political perspectives without charge or trial and, as of September 25, 2019, prominent political and business leaders remain in detention.”

It also highlights the “detentions and harassment of journalists in Jammu and Kashmir” as reported by independent observers and journalistic organizations. It also highlights the harsh restrictions on freedom of religious expression, including the closure of mosques and religious buildings. The resolution also notes that the Government of India has forbidden foreign journalists and United States Government officials from visiting the occupied territory since August 5.

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The resolution states that the actions of the Narendra Modi-led government are “not reflective of the shared democratic norms” between the US and India, and added that the “actions of the Government of India constitute violations of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

The resolution further highlights that the India government has failed to hold its military accountable for human rights violations by undertaking a state of impunity for members of the army and security services through the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

It also refers to the UN report stating that militant groups, like Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizbul Mujahideen, and Harakat Ul-Mujahidin “have contributed to the harsh conditions and dire human rights situation faced by civilians” in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Settle the Status of Disputed Territories

The resolution has also urged the Narendra Modi-led Indian government to “exercise restraint when performing security and policing operations and denounces the widespread use of threats and excessive force against civilians, protestors, and detainees.”

It has called for the immediate release for unjustly detained Kashmiris, and to put an end to “arbitrary and politically motivated detentions.” The resolution calls upon the governments of India and Pakistan to engage in dialogue aimed at protecting human rights and de-escalating tensions.

Read more: US wants ‘rapid’ Indian easing of Kashmir restrictions

It also calls upon the two South Asian neighbors to “renounce the use of force to settle the status of all disputed territories between them.”

Pakistan and India have been urged to grant “full and unfettered access” to the representatives of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to their respective sides of the Line of Control.

The two countries have been urged to implement the policy recommendations of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, proposed in the reports for 2018 and 2019.

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