August 16, 2019
- ‘Denial of religious freedoms in Indian-occupied Kashmir’ denounced
Protesters stage a rally in Islamabad on Thursday as Pakistan observed a ‘Black Day’ over the recent move to strip Indian-administered Kashmir of its autonomy. (AFP)
By Arab News
JEDDAH – 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).”
According to a statement, the OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission: “Joins the international community in condemning the ongoing security lockdown/curfews and communications blackout in the IOK by the Indian occupation forces, which remained in place even during the festive period of Eid Al-Adha.
“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.”
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.”
The UN Security Council is due to meet behind-closed-doors on Friday at the request of China and Pakistan to discuss India’s decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, diplomats said.
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.
“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.
“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.”