International Council for Human Development

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Right to travel, Right to speak

The International Council for Human Development (ICHD) in a press statement on 30th of December 2010 denounced the denounced the Indian government’s policy of denying the Kashmiris their right to travel abroad. According to the details, there are 75,000 Kashmiri families that are deprived of getting visas despite their requests for the travel abroad.   

The ICHD chairperson, Ali Raza Syed mentioned the Kashmiri families that are in the black lists of the police or other law enforcing agencies operating in the Indian Held Kashmir. He said that such families and individuals are always under surveillance, they are barred from having jobs and they are denied from travelling abroad. He criticised the Indian government’s decision to refuse the visa request of a 20 years old boy that, as a good footballer, was selected for a tournament in Brazil. 
The ICHD also supported the demand of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) for a probe into the cases of custodial disappearances and unmarked mass graves by the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) as demanded by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP). 
Chairman Kashmir Council EU, Ali Raza Syed said that the ICRC should be allowed to exercise its global mandate of investigating the cases of disappearances and unmarked graves in the territory. He said that the ICRC was professionally neutral and capable organisation to carry out an unbiased and thorough investigation.

Protest demonstration on arrival of Indian PM

A large number of the peole from different walks of life and presentatives of differnt Europe based Kashmiri organistions participated in the protest demonstration on arrival of Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, in Brussels on Friday, December 11, 2010. The protest demonstration was arranged on the occasion of the International Day of Human rights, in  Brussels at Place of  Schuman (in front of European Council,) from  11 AM until  1 PM. The participants were holding different banners condemning the Indian atrocities in Kashmir. 

The protest was organised by Kashmir Council EU under the chairmanship of Ali Raza  Syed with the support of other organisations including Kashmir Scandinavian Council Norway, Kashmir European Alliance (Norway)  KWDA Canada, IKV Pax Christi Holland, Jammu Kashmir Self Determination Movement UK, Council  of Khalistan, Kashmir Centre Netherlands and Jammu  Kashmir Welfare Organization France, All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference EU and Jammu and Kashmir PML Europe.
Mir Waiz Umer Farooq, Chairman APHC had a telephonic address on the occassion. He urged EU to use its influence to stop the human rights violation and state terrorism in Indian Held Kashmir. The imortant participants and speakers of the demonstratio were Sardar Ali Shanawaz Khan, Exective Director Kashmir Scandinavian Council, Ch. Mukhtar, the Head of Kashmir European Alliance , Zahid Hashmi, President of Jammu Kashmir Welfare Organization , Raja Liaqat, President MC Holland, Zaib Khan, Chairman Kashmir Centre Holland, Khalil Chaudary, Secretary General Kashmir Council EU, Ch Pervaiz Losar, President PML Q, Sardar Sadeek, President of MC Europe, Khalid Mehmood Joshi, President of WKDA Europe, Raja Javed, the Leader of Jammu Kashmir PML N , Mian Arshaad, the Leader of PML N, Malik Mohammad Ajmal, Senior Voice President of Pakistan Peoples Party, Khawaja Mohammad Sajjad, Abdul Sattar Qadri Chairman, Belgo-Pak Belgium, Amin ul Haq of CDH, Malik Pervaiz of Peoples Muslim League, Chaudary Mushtaq of  JKLF and Dr. urmit Singh President of the Council of Khalistan addressed the huge number of participants.
Chairman of ICHD, Ali Raza Syed said that the organizers of the demonstration wanted to raise awareness about the ongoing wide-spread human rights violations in the Indian Held Kashmir against the people of Kashmir by the military and paramilitary forces.  
“We protest to express our concern on the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Jammu and Kashmir, and ongoing   denial of the right to self determination  as promised to the  people of Kashmir by former Indian Prime Minister, Late Jawaharlal Nehru, and agreed upon by  the UN in 1948. Over  600,000 troops are stationed  in Kashmir,  on every ten civilians  a soldier or security officer  is at duty, which is  five times more then the  international forces  in  a war zone  as  Afghanistan”, said Ali Raza Syed.
The speakers strongly condemned the government of India for violently crushing the non-violent protests. They said that the curfew, brutal force and merciless repression by  army and security forces could not break the will of the people of Kashmir.  Giving facts and figures, one speakers said that since more than 120 non-violent protesters  (youth, women and children)  had been killed  by police and army bullets during previous five months.
“We  want  Dr. Manmohan Singh to take home  the  message of the people in Europe  that , truth  can never  be buried and  justice  never  be compromised. We want to express support for the people of Jammu& Kashmir and show them they are not alone. We express solidarity with their non-violent struggle against human rights violations and the denial of the right to self determination”, said the speakers.

Seminar in Mirpur

Kashmir Council-EU organised a seminar in Mirpur, Kashmir on November 19, 2010. The EU-based human rights activist and coordinator of the Netherland based organisation, IKV Pax Christi, Marjan Lucas spoke to the seminar as the chief guest. The title of the seminar was, ‘Reflections on Kashmir’. The advisor to President of AJK, Dr.ZU Khan and the Former Chief Justice AJK, Justice Retired Majeed Malik also spoke to the seminar. A number of the personalities from civil society of AJK including doctors, lawyers and journalists, professors, and students attended the seminar.

A very well known passionate campaigner of the human rights of Kashmiri people, Marjan Lucas said that she would continue supporting the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. ‘‘We shall highlight the violation of human rights in Indian Held Kashmir.’’ She said that the innocent people of the IHK were undergoing extreme state torture, humiliations and deprivations while security forces were really acting as the coloniser forces bent upon crushing the will of their subjected nation. She said that the collective will of the Kashmiris had proved its worth in the wake of brutality they are facing. She said that all the human rights workers and peace activists of the world should come forward to put pressure on the Indian state and governments. 

Justice Retired Majeed Malik, the former Chief Justice of AJK High Court hailed the work of Marjan Lucas on Kashmir. He said that Kashmir Council-EU was dong very commendable job for building awareness on the Kashmir conflict. He mentioned the international laws while talking about the plight of fellow Kashmiris under the siege of Indian forces. He said that the UN resolutions and other provisions of the international laws clearly gave the right to self determination to the people of Kashmir. He said that the puppet governments in the Indian Held Kashmir could not be the substitute to the true referendum people. 
Dr.ZU Khan emphasized upon the collective efforts of Kashmiris to their raise voices against the violence being perpetrated in the Indian Held Kashmir. He said that there was a great need to raise the Kashmir issue on every influential international forum. He said that the opinion making in the western societies, institutions, governments and states were the key to realising the resolution of the Kashmir conflict. 
The Chairman Kashmir Council EU, Ali Raza Syed also spoke at the event. He emphasized upon the need of a united front of the Kashmiris. He said, situation in Indian Held Kashmir was terribly bad and that the hardships for the people had been increased in the held valley. He demanded the withdrawal of the Indian troops from the occupied territory while revoking all the draconian laws including Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). He demanded the release of all the pro-freedom leaders and activists. 
The speakers and participants of the seminar were of the collective view that the United Nations, world powers, forums and institutions should impress upon India to resolve the Kashmir dispute according to the aspirations of the people of Kashmir. 

Symbolic Prison: A unique demonstration

Kashmir Council-EU held organised unique demonstration in front of European Union Headquarters in Brussels on 22th of Oct 2010. The demonstrators, led by Kashmir Council EU Chairman, Ali Raza Syed presented the symbolic windows of the Indian prison to receive attention of the international community. The demonstration focussed on the large number of 
political prisoners, at the one hand, and ruthless murders of the Kashmiris by the Indian forces, at the other. The protestors standing behind the symbolic jail’s bars chanted slogans against the Indian atrocities in the held Kashmir and demanded for release of political prisoners and stop of killings of the Kashmiris.

Speaking on the occasion, Chairman Kashmir Council EU, Ali Raza said they would continue raising their voice against the violence in the held Kashmir. He demanded the world community to pay attention on the horrible human rights violations by the Indian forces. He said a large number of people in the Held Kashmir were missing and majority of them were believed killed buried in the un-named mass graves in the different areas of Kashmir. He lamented the fact that more than one hundred of the Kashmiris particularly youth and minors were killed in the new waves of the struggle. He said that Indian forces had targeted particularly the innocent and peaceful youth in the recent months. He said that 
Kashmir was the most important issue in the south Asia and that the resolution of the Kashmir issue was a prerequisite to the peace in the region. ‘The right of self determination of the Kashmir should be given to them for the just solution of the Kashmir dispute’, he demanded.

The chairman of Kashmir Council-EU stressed upon the need of a grand initiative by the international community to address the human rights’ crisis created by Indian troops in the Kashmir. He urged international human rights organisations to pressurize India to stop the state terrorism. He said international opinion was instrumental in the efforts to redeem the right to self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Briefing to EU Official on situation in IHK

The ICHD gave a briefing to the EU official on the situation of Kashmir on October 27, 2010. The chairman of ICHD, Ali Raza Syed and the Dutch NGO IKV Pax Christi Representative Ms.Marjan Lucas spoke to Mrs.Jean Lambert, the Chairperson of South Asia Delegation at EU parliament. Ali Raza Syed briefed her about the current situation in Indian Held Kashmir and urged the EU to play a role in stopping the killings, release of prisoners, finding the disappeared persons and helping the people of Kashmir in getting their right to self determination.  IKV Pax Christi Representative Ms.Marjan Lucas also informed her about the un-named mass graves in the Indian Held Kashmir. She expressed her disappointment over the fact that there was no international response despite the issuance of detailed report in that context. 

Mrs Lambert told that she and her group was trying to organise a full plenary session of EU parliament on Kashmir. The meeting was considered as an important step to motivate the EU for taking serious notice of the situation in the Indian Held Kashmir especially recent killings of youth by the Indian forces. 

The Kashmir-EU Week (2010)

The International Council for Human Development (ICHD) and Kashmir Council-EU, IKV Pax Christi and MEP, Mr. Sajjad Haider Karim jointly organised a Kashmir-EU week in the European parliament in Brussels, Belgium on 14-16 September 2010. The event included a well attended seminar and a well received exhibition of the cultural heritage of Kashmir. Titled as, ‘Beauty of Kashmir, preserved past and bruised present,' the event was applauded by the prominent personalities of EU. By doing so, the European Parliament embraced the cultural and literary heritage of Kashmir while endorsing their demand of the realisation of human rights as enshrined in the UDHR and other documents of UN, EU and other human rights institutions and forums of the world. 

The grand event was made possible through the office and efforts of MEP Sajjad Karim; the host of the event in EU parliament. The event was timed for the beginning of the EU parliament’s calendar session, reminding the EU to focus on eliminating the human rights abuses in Indian Held Kashmir. The event was a concerted effort to urge the EU to assist in finding a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict. 

At the inauguration of the event, MEP Sajad Karim welcomed the guests and thanked them for supporting the event and the people of Kashmir. He asserted that the European Parliament's representatives remained engaged in assisting the region to overcome the conflict and current unrest experienced there. He said though the political backdrop of unrest preceded the debate on Kashmir but the event had given the opportunity to know about the cultural heritage and the rich civilisation of the Kashmiri people whose art, poetry and literature had influenced South Asian culture.
The Chariman of Kashmir Council EU and ICHD Ali Raza Syed spoke of the beauty of Kashmir especially their cultural heritage of the tolerant nature of the Kashmiri people and their ability to live in peace for centuries before the Indian occupation. He said that the Kashmir had a rich tradition of a multi-cultural and multi-religious society. He said different identities lived peacefully with each others but the illegal occupation of Kashmir by Indian forces changed the entire situation there. He briefly explained the human rights situation of the Kashmir while saying that the torture, humiliation, murders and rapes had become the daily routine of the life of Kashmiris. He mentioned the disappearances and discovery of the mass graves in Kashmir as the most horrendous atrocities committed in the modern world. He assured the participants that they would continue doing peaceful struggling for the right to self determination of the people of Kashmir.  

Marjan Lucas of IKV Pax Christi, while introducing the photographs of Govert Driessen, said that international community had a burden on its conscience. She said that no human rights activist of the world could afford to neglect the gross violation of the human rights of Kashmir people. She also mentioned the mass graves of unknown Kashmiri civilians while saying that everybody knew that these people were innocent local Kashmiris killed by the brutal Indian forces. She said that the slow but steady efforts for building awareness in the Western opinion makers was essential for the human rights campaigners focussed on Kashmir. She congratulated ICHD, KC-EU and MEP, Mr. Sajjad Haider Karim for organising such an important event in EU.  

Dr. Seema Kazi read the excerpts from her book, which highlighted the plight of women in the Kashmir conflict. She spoke of the human rights abuses faced by the women on a daily basis and the lack of any justice being provided. 
Mr. Farooq Siddiqi of World Diaspora Alliance reiterated the need to remind the international community and the European Union that they had a responsibility to intervene in Kashmir and administer the United Nations pledge for a resolution. He also talked about the significance of events such as they gave hope to the Kashmiri people. 
jThe MP, Danielle Caron described the beauty of the landscape and mountains of Kashmir one of the best in the world. She said that Kashmir had a special place in her heart since she had visited the region. She said she was highly perturbed to see the poverty and lack of security in the collective life of the Kashmir. She pledged her fullest support for any effort of bringing peace in the region. 

The Head of the Labour Party Group spoke the words of encouragement to the organisers of the Kashmir-EU week. He said that there was very impressive number of the participants of the event. He specially praised the exhibitions as remarkable initiative to portray the full picture of the collective Kashmiri civilisation. 






The murder of innocent youth

On August 20, 2010, the chairman of Kashmir Council-EU and International Council for Human Development (ICHD), Ali Raza Syed strongly condemned the killing of an 8 year old boy by Indian troops in Islamabad (Anantnag) town of the held Kashmir (IHK). In a statement in Brussels, he said that the murder was an example of the state terrorism by the Indian establishment, in the valley. He said it was a worst kind of the barbarianism and part of the plan to commit genocide of the Kashmiris. The eight-year-old boy namely Milad Ahmad Daar was shot by Indian paramilitary forces CRPF in Laizbal area of South Kashmir’s Islamabad town. The boy succumbed to his injuries on Thursday morning.

Mr. Ali Raza Syed said Indian troops and police personnel were targeting the young boys to suppress the pro-freedom sentiment in the held territory. He termed it genocide of Kashmiri youth and said that the use of brute force couldn’t weaken the ongoing Kashmiri movement. He also denounced the killing of another teenager namely Mudassir Nazir in Sopore. The 18-year-old youth who was injured in the firing of Indian troops had succumbed to his injuries. Mudassir and two other people were injured when the troops of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) opened fire on peaceful protesters in Chinkipora area of the town.
He expressed condolences with families of both the martyred youth and pointed out that the Indian troops were killing the Kashmir people as a calculated design. He said the number of civilians killed by police and paramilitary CRPF personnel during past 70 days of continued unrest in the valley had reached 60.

Chairman Kashmir Council-EU stressed upon the need of a grand initiative by the international community to address the human rights’ crisis created by Indian troops in occupied Kashmir. He urged international human rights organisations to pressurize India to stop the reign of terror unleashed by Indian troops in the occupied territory and redeem the right of self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

UK should speak up

A press statement by ICHD on August 5, 2010 gave salient features of its letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron at the eve of his visit to India. The letter was critical to the UK policy of silence over the Kashmir issue despite the historic fact that the British Empire was one player of the game that left behind outstanding conflict over Kashmir in Sub-Continent. 

The letter says that the UK as a major power and particularly as important member of European Union should be willing to protect the human rights in the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) and help in the achievement of a negotiated and peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The letter emphasized upon the importance of international role in the solution of the issue since the two big nations of the Sub-Continent; India and Pakistan could not solve it during six decades and many wars. 

In the detail of the letter drawing attention of the Britain Prime Minister towards the latest developments in the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK), the Kashmir Leader said, Kashmir is burning, Indian Security forces are killing the kids, and more than twenty people including the eight year old Sameer Ahmed had been killed recently.   Is it not human right violations?   Why is there silence on this state terrorism?   Is it  not your  country's   moral responsibility to  speak against this genocide of  Kashmiri people by  the  so  called biggest democracy  of the world; India?  Are the business interests above the human rights?  Are the Kashmiri not human being by your standards?  Is it not true that Kashmir problem was left behind by your country? If your country can speak about human rights violations in Zimbabway and other parts of the world than why not about Kashmiris’ rights?  Please help the people of Kashmir because the peace with justice for all and rights for all is in the interest of your country and the entire world.  
The letter further said, since 1989, Indian forces have killed more than 100,000 Kashmiris and Kashmir was many times described as the most dangerous place in the world. Since May this year, when the fresh wave of protests started, nearly 50 Kashmiris have been killed, many of them were teenagers. Hundreds of civilians have also been injured, which has created perpetual chaos in Kashmiri hospitals as medical supplies dwindle under prolonged curfew and an embargo on goods.

Focusing on the fresh incidents, Mr.Ali Raza Syed added, since this Friday, more than two dozen people have been killed, including an eight-year-old boy Sameer Ahmed, who was allegedly beaten by police. In another incident, a teenage girl, Afroza, was killed when police fired on protesters at Khrew, on the outskirts of Srinagar, the summer capital of the disputed region. At least 25 people were wounded, two of them critically, when troops resorted to indiscriminate firing and tear gas shelling in Naaman village in South Kashmir. Nearly 100 miles away, in Baramulla, Indian troops fired at another group of protesters, injuring two more youths. During the fresh wave of protests, India has adopted an uncompromisingly militant posture towards Kashmiri civilians protesting against human rights abuses.

Criticizing over UK’s Prime Minister statement about Pakistan, Mr.Ali Raza Syed asked him, Instead of talking about human rights violations committed by the Indian forces    in Kashmir, you blamed Pakistan for producing terrorism. In fact, Pakistan is itself a victim of terrorism. Suicide bombings and other outrages in major cities and fighting with terrorists in the tribal areas caused a huge loss for Pakistan, and according to an estimate 3,021 people died in terrorist attacks in 2009 in Pakistan, compared with about 2,000 in Afghanistan. Since 2001, officials say more than 2,700 Pakistani security force members have died. 

We also have right to life

The International Council for Human Development (ICHD) held a peaceful protest in front of the EU Parliament in Brussels on July 5, 2010. The protest was organised to agitate against the killings of unarmed Kashmiri youths in Occupied Kashmir. A large number of Kashmiris and their supporters participated despite heavy rain. The participants were highly critical of the brutality of the Indian forces in Kashmir.
Addressing the protestors, Ali Raza Syed, Chairman of ICHD expressed his anguish and anger about the deteriorating situation of human rights in occupied Kashmir. He condemned the killings of 12 innocent youths in the previous month. Giving the details, he said that a 17 year old boy Tufail Ahmad Matoo was killed on 12th of June, a 24 year old man Mohammad Rafiq Bangroo was killed on 19th of June, Javaid Ahmed Malla was killed on 23rd of June, Firdous Ahmad Kakroo was killed on 25th of June, 22 year old Bilal Ahmed Wani and 17 year old Tajamul Ahmed Bhat were killed on 27th of June, a 9 year old boy Tariq Ahmed Rather was killed on 28th June, a 15 year old Istiaq Ahmad Khanday, 17 year old Imtiyaz Ahmed Itoo and 19 year old Sajjad-ul-Islam were killed on 29th of June. He told that the fake encounters were common practice in occupied Kashmir and the recent ‘fake encounter’ had killed three innocent Kashmiris. 
“Whatever tactics India may adopt to silence Kashmiris inside or outside India, the ICHD shall persist and continue to lobby in the EU for the promotion & protection of the Kashmiris human rights and for the implementation of their inalienable right to self – determination”, said Ali Raza Syed. He said that despite the fact that Kashmir were under occupation by India, they deserved the respect to their basic rights and freedoms in accordance with international law to which India is a signatory.  He said that their struggle will continue until the killings of innocent people by the Indian security forces stops. He appealed to the EU to use its influence to stop the genocide of the Kashmiri people. 

The speakers demanded that the trade relation between EU and India should have been suspended. India should be asked to respect their international obligation to let people of Jammu & Kashmir exercise their Right to Self-Determination and to respect international human rights norms and the treaties to which India is a signatory including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 

The speakers demanded that India should undertake an independent and impartial investigation in all the killings, custodial deaths, disappearances, fake encounters, rapes and other human rights violations under international law and international auspices. They demanded an open access IHK for major human rights NGOs and humanitarian organizations in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Briefing to Norwegian politicians

A meeting between Norwegian parliamentarian, Ms. Rannvei Kvifte Andresen and chairperson ICHD, Ali Raza Syed was held in Oslo on Februrary 23, 2010. She assured the ICHD leader that the issue of unnamed graves in Indian Held Kashmir shall be brought in the notice of the Norwegian parliamentary committee on Foreign Affairs. An acting member of the joint committee, she said that it was a just cause to be discussed in the committee.  

The meeting took place at the parliament house here on Monday and Ali Raza Syed presented a comprehensive report on the unknown mass graves in IHK. The 110 pages report was prepared by Dutch Peace Organisation, IPC (www.ikvpaxchristi.nl) in last three years.
He said, Kashmir is long standing dispute and UN resolutions on the conflict are yet to be implemented. He said the massive atrocities against the innocent people in the IHK were going on and India was avoiding talking about Kashmir with other countries. He expressed his disappointment on the silence of the international community on the Kashmir conflict.
The Norwegian Parliamentarian said, She understands the situation of Human rights in IHK and assured that the issue of unnamed mass graves in IHK to be brought in the notice of other members of the committee, so they could discussed the issue during their upcoming session next month.

Ali Raza Syed said, about 10,000 people are disappeared in IHK and most of them are seemingly killed by the Indian forces.  He said, we started the movement to raise the issue before the different nations of world. The noted Kashmir figure said, solution of Kashmir issue is essential for the peace in region and even peace could not be restored in Afghanistan with out solution of Kashmir problem.

The lady parliamentarian said, that Norway had important role to play for the peace in different regions. She believed that Kashmir was the key issue in the region of South Asia. She informed that Kashmir Group of all parties in the parliament had also been reconstituted under the chairmanship of Mr.Knut, the former central cabinet minister. 

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