To End Lockdowns (With Particular Reference To Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir) In All Territories Where Ever These Are Unlawfully Enforced
London Brussels Geneva; August 2020: Organisation of Kashmir Coalition (OKC) together with its partners and organisers held a conference to remember one year of lockdown/shutdown of Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K) by the Indian authorities following the abrogation of their constitution’s articles 35A and 370 with the intent to change the demography of IOJ&K.
Barrister A Majid Tramboo of OKC who moderated the conference, in his opening remarks highlighted the intent of the conference in terms to launch the “International Day of Lockdown Territories” on 5 August every year in line with the IOJ&K lockdown anniversary. Barrister Tramboo stated that in violation of Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), lockdowns have become a common feature in occupied territories, such as IOJ&K, aiming at to disempower, marginalise and suppress peoples movements primarily aimed to deny their inalienable right to self-determination and enforcing unilateral, undemocratic and unconstitutional power to oblige people to stay indoors meaning freedom of movement is fundamentally breached and people are effectively wilfully prohibited from moving around freely. He referred the IOJ&K lockdown the most extreme form of lockdown which is weaponised and carried out through systematic and relentless political repression. Barrister Tramboo informed the conference that three important statements have been issued on this 5 August day, one from the United Nations Human Rights Special Procedures, second from the President of the All Parties Group on Kashmir (APGK) in the European Parliament and the third from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation secretariat, OIC, and that these 3 statements tend to support OKC’s declaration to have the “International Day of Lockdown of Territories”.
Rana Basharat Ali Khan special Representative to United Nation International Human Rights Observer, expressed his dissatisfaction with the Inter-governmental Organisations for not doing enough to uphold, promote and protect the people of IOJ&K’s human rights and realisation of their right to self determination. He hopes that in days to come the world community will come forward to resolve the seventy two year old conflict of Jammu and Kashmir.
MEP Manuela Ripa, President of APGK, in her statement declared her full support to commemorate 5 August as the International day of Lockdown Territories recognising a year utter misery of Lockdown being suffered by the people of IOJ&K.
Professor Alfred de Zayas, First (former) Independent Expert on the Promotion of Democratic and Equitable International Order, provided a comprehensive legal analysis concerning occupied territories and lockdowns. In conclusion he referred to 5 August 2019, the Indian government act of having abrogated the articles of the constitution with the intention to impose a demographic change in the territory.” IOJ&K has been placed under siege and totally cut off from rest of the world with the closure of all educational institutions, complete prohibition on freedom of assembly and expression, total shutdown of mobile, internet services and social media and a steep increase in human rights violations”, he added. Professor de Zayas further remarked that OKC with its partners and organizers have decided to launch the “International Day of Lockdown Territories”; this is very much appropriate; the UN Charter commits us all to work for peace, “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small; to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom”.
Professor Nazir Ahmed Shawl of OKC, in his lead presentation on the IOJ&K lockdown contributed in terms of having catalogued massive human rights abuses suffered by ordinary Kashmiris men and women and children alike. He deplored random arrests and detentions of Kashmiri youth particularly over the lockdown year who have been prisoned across India in various prisons. Professor Shawl lamented that there has been high increase in “search and cordon off” operations and “fake encounters” resulting in extra judicial killings. He expressed his anguish at the continued detention of Syed Ali Shah Gilani, Asiah Andrabi, Mohammed Ashraf Sehrai, Mohammed Yasin Malik, Shabir Ahmed Shah, Farooq Ahmed Dar, Mia Abdul Qayyum and Mohammed Naeem Khan.
Soraya Boyd, CEO of Facilitate Global and a member of OKCAB stated that we have seen since the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A the fact that, before the yes of the international community, Mr Modi and his war criminal accomplices, have demonstrated that they have no intention of being democratic and no intention of upholding any kind of rule of law; this follows India has become undemocratic and unconstitutional, in fact it is pretty much an illegal regime. She added that the fact Britain is responsible for causing the instability, protracted violence and ongoing rights deprivations/violations that have plagued both peoples: Palestinians and Kashmiris, making a mess and leaving chaos behind. Ms Boyd further stated that the peoples both in Kashmir and Palestine have been the recipients of ongoing, relentless forms of aggression, violence to include sexual violence committed against both women of all ages and men, an intended outcome of the settler colonial mind set affecting reproductive capacity meaning if a people are prevented from reproducing naturally, over the course of a period of time as a result of not being able to reproduce to have progeny, then that people are going to disappear, another intended outcome is to erase the memory of the existence of a people, in this case a people of with a land, namely the Kashmiris as well as the people of Palestine who have always been a people with a land.
Leonid Savin, Editor-in-Chief of the “Geopoliticа.ru” and Founder and editor-in-chief of the “Journal of Eurasian Affairs”, in his brief presentation proposed developing of alternatively theories dealing with international relations, human rights including nations and states governance. He further remarked that from practical point of view creation of databases, own network, crowdfunding and media campaigns for support of Kashmir is essential.
Professor Joseph Wronka, International Association of Schools of Social Work, hopes that the UN General Assembly will officially endorse, as soon as possible, 5 August as the International Day of Lockdown Territories, as an annual event alongside such other notable days, such as 9 August, the International Day of Indigenous Peoples, 8 March, the International Day of Women, and of course, 10 December, as International Human Rights Day. He believes that doing so, is an excellent policy implementation strategy, perhaps the best way to create a socially just policy, with human rights at its core and that this new international day can create an awareness of both the de jure and de facto plight of the marginalised and disenfranchised whose basic human right to self-determination has been violated.
Frank Schwalba-Hoth, founding member of the German Greens and one of the first Green member Parliament in Germany, emphasised the significance of having commemoration of “international days” throughout the year as recognised by the United Nations. He moved the resolution, for and on behalf of OKC, its organisers and partners, to launch this “International Day of Lockdown Territories” and ask the Civil Society structures, the government of this world, the UN General Assembly and other Inter-governmental Organisations:
- to stand up in solidarity with peoples, including the people of IOJ&K, under unlawful lockdowns for political or repressive reasons and to uphold people’s fundamental right to live freely, choose their own political future and determine their own form of economic, cultural and social development;
- to organise every year 5 August public events highlighting during that “International Day of Lockdown Territories” the right of freedom of movement; and
- to end lockdowns (with particular reference to IOJ&K) in all the territories where ever these are unlawfully enforced.