NEW YORK: Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi has updated the UN Security Council President Joanna Wronecka on the deepening crisis in Indian occupied Kashmir.
The Pakistani envoy also briefed two senior world body’s humanitarian officials on the acute suffering of the people languishing under military lockdown for the past 26 days.
According to informed sources, Ambassador Lodhi told the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock that over 14 million Kashmiris were facing a grim situation since August 5 when India annexed occupied Kashmir, sparking off the crisis.
New Delhi’s “draconian measures”, she said, have led to shortages of food, medicine and essential supplies for over a million Kashmiri people with no end in sight.
She further informed the UN officials that this was only the tip of the iceberg.
“The humanitarian situation will become clearer once restrictions are lifted by the Indian authorities. This is not a crisis waiting to happen, there is an even greater crisis waiting to erupt,” Ambassador Lodhi said.
The occupied territory, according to the Pakistani envoy, has been turned into a large open-air prison, grossly violating human rights of the people.
Thousands of Kashmiris, including business leaders, human rights defenders, elected representatives, teachers, students and children as young as 14, have been rounded up and whisked outside occupied Kashmir, without a trace, according to reports coming out of the disputed state.
During her meeting with UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director Hannan Sulieman, the Pakistani envoy said that systematic human rights violations are being committed by Indian security forces.
“Young boys are being abducted from their homes and being tortured and women and girls were being sexually harassed, molested and dishonoured. Sufferings of the Kashmiri children do not see any sign of abetment,” she told the UNICEF official.
“Hundreds of children have lost their eye sights due to the pellet gunshots fired by the Indian occupying forces, including children as young as 4 years old, not only losing their sights but with it their futures and dreams,” she added
She referred to Reports of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of the year 2018 and 2019 further accentuates that children are being arrested under the Public Security Act (PSA) and Armed Forces Special Protection Act (AFSPA) in complete neglect to the International human rights obligations enshrined in Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Sexual violence in Jammu and Kashmir covers a range of crimes, including harassment, abuse, molestation, abduction and rape, and seems to be rife in the state, Ambassador Lodhi said.
Last month, former Chief Minister of occupied Kashmir Omar Abdullah said that since 1989, 5,125 cases of rape and 14,953 cases of molestation had been registered in the state.
According to a report published by Human Rights NGO in India, 72 of the 318 children killed between 2003 and 2017 were reportedly girls or nearly 23 per cent.
Girls have also been subjected to sexual violence, with rape having been employed as “a weapon of war by the state in order to enforce collective punishment and to instil fear among the rebelling populace.—NNI