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International Human Rights Day, Malala and APDP

On the International Human Rights Day (10th of December 2012), ICHD issued a statement in the favour of UNESCO decision to appoint Malala Yusafzai as advisor to enhance the level of education to the girls of Pakistan. The ICHD termed Malala as the hero of Pakistan fighting against the ignorance and religious extremism. At the other hand, the ICHD, in the same statement, expressed grave concerns over the recently launched report by the Association of the Parents of the Disappeared Persons (APDP). 

Attending the UNESCO event for Malala, at the eve of international human rights day, Ali Raza Syed endorsed the words of the president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari as saying that the people of Pakistan needed a progressive country with complete constitutional guarantees. He said that the International Human Rights day reminded every human rights activist that the struggle for a just and peaceful world was an international obligation irrespective of the nationality or religion. He said that the women and children of the conflict ridden regions were living under great stress while paying huge costs for supporting the demands of their rights. He said a Pakistani child; Malala had showed a path for everybody to follow. 

“The presence of the UNESCO head, prime minister of France, president of Pakistan, amongst other high level dignitaries, to appreciate and acknowledge the great vision of a Pakistani child proves the fact that the great nation of Pakistan is a progressive nation that believes in human rights including right to education for all. This is an achievement of all the peace loving Pakistanis and their friends in the world”, said Ali Raza. Speaking about the ongoing struggle of his organisation, he said that Kashmiris were suffering from great injustice and human right violations at the hands of Indian security forces. He said that the children in Indian Held Kashmir were living under duress and fear of life while pursuing their educational careers. He stressed upon the international community to work together in order to free the people of Kashmir from the oppression and suppression. 

In support of his arguments, he referred to the recently launched report by the Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian Held Kashmir in collaboration with Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP). He said the report had proven beyond doubts that the Indian security forces, including high ranking officials, had been given complete impunity for the brutal acts like murders. He said a cursory look at the details of the report reflected the lawlessness in the IHK. He said that according to the report 500 army and police personals had been named as the perpetrators of heinous crimes against humanity. He said that the report was not an allegation since it was based on the evidences gathered from the government documents. “Out of 214 cases, a list emerges of 500 individual perpetrators, which include 235 army personals, 123 paramilitary personals, 111 Jammu and Kashmir police personals and 31 government backed militants”, said Ali Raza. 

He criticised the Indian state as saying that many of the perpetrators were rewarded with medals and promotions. He said that the culture of impunity to the security forces had been instrumental in unabated violence on the people of IHK. He vowed that his organisation shall support the human rights activists of the world in denouncing such atrocities and demanding the Indian state to take legal action against the perpetrators. 

Symposium and Exhibition on Kashmir

At Leuven University on 29th of October 2012

Leuvan (30 October 2012): 
The Pakistan Students Forum, Politika International and International Council for Human Development (ICHD) organised a symposium and exhibition on Kashmir conflict on 29th of December 2012 at one of the university auditoriums. A large number of students from different departments and nationalities attended the event, which was addressed by Marjan Lucas (expert on Kashmir affairs), Sadia Mir (policy analyst and ecologist), Gie Goris (scholar on South Asia and editor weekly MO), Caron Dannielle (member of Belgian parliament) and Ali Raza Syed (chairperson ICHD). The symposium was moderated by Ali Shirazi, a phd student and former Pakistani president of the students union of Leuven University. 

Ali Shirazi said that the objective of the symposium was to build awareness about one of the most sensitive regions of the world. He said that it was an unbiased debate, which did not have any objective of siding with one party to the conflict. He introduced the panellists and invited them to speak. 

Marjan Lucas started her deliberations by denouncing the fact that Kashmir was an unfinished agenda of the decolonisation of India. She said that improper and incomplete decolonisation was at the root of the outstanding conflict. Giving a brief history of the conflict, she said that it was started with the partition in 1947 and international debate and resolutions of UN promised the Kashmiris that there would be a referendum to seek the will of the Kashmiri people. She said that after more than six decades the Kashmiris were still excluded from the decision making processes. 

Talking about Kashmiris struggle for the independence, she said that the indigenous movement of 90 taught Kashmiris the vital lesson that the violence is not the solution to any conflict. She said that Indian state should also learn this lesson as it has deployed 700, 000 strong forces for a population of 5 million. She lamented the fact that the human rights violations including rape, murders and disappearances were daily routine in the Kashmir. 

The civil society is paralysed under the draconian laws imposed by the state. She pointed out the fact that the indigenous struggle of Kashmiris was high jacked by the militant organisations like Lashkar e Tayyab supported by Pakistani secret agencies. These militants introduced other kind of violence in the region and the civil society was crushed between the violence of army and violence of militants. 

She welcomed the peaceful activities and awareness building measures taken by the organisations like ICHD. She especially pointed out the One Million Signature Campaign as a timely and right campaign. She said that the human rights activists and peace lovers should keep the Kashmir issue on the agenda of the international community, which, according to her, was a vital strength to gain justice for the Kashmiris. Answering a question, she said that the presence of 30,000 US army, in Afghanistan, was seen as a problem but 700,000 strong Indian force in a small piece of land of 5 million people was taken for granted. Talking about the economy of Kashmir, she said that the foreigner or Indian tourists were allowed to go to Kashmir but the Kashmiri diaspora was not able to visit their homeland. 

Sadia Mir recounted her experience of working for the UN policy mechanisms. She particularly pointed out the issue of environmental degradation, which was neglected by the international community. She said that the environmental degradation of Kashmir did not come on the agenda of even the environmentalist lobbies despite the fact that it was vital to the entire region of South Asia. She pointed out the pollution of the rivers and Dal lake of Kashmir. She said that the Dal Lake was shrinking at the rate, which was unparalleled in the world. She said that the deforestation was going on unabatedly at a horrible rate.

She told the audience that the Peer Panjal mountain range had only 18% of its forests. She said that the occurrence of flash floods was one outcome of the rapid deforestation of Kashmir. Answering a question, she said that tourism is vital to the Kashmiri economy but it did not give the viable and sustainable economic structure to the Kashmiris. She suggested that the Kashmiris resources and the original skills of their people should be explored and developed as the bases of the national economy of Kashmir. She said that revival of the tourism or Bollywood movies did not prove that the Kashmiris had abandoned their right to self-determination. 

Gie Goris said that the simplifications were the political tool to confuse the outstanding issues and conflicts. She said that the Kashmir was generally taken as only the valley of Kashmir while it was in fact the Jammu and Kashmir; the princely state at the time of partition. He referred to his talk with the grandson of the Maharaja of Kashmir, Karan Singh who told him that the Kashmir was already untenable at the time of partition since one part related to Budhism, one with Hinduism and one with Islam. 

He said that AJK was more related to Punjab than to mainstream Kashmir. He said that violence was not a viable solution to the Kashmir conflict. He said referendum was the only solution but UN resolutions did not include the third option of the independence for Kashmiris. He said in case of the referendum, Laddakh and Jammu shall vote for India, Gilgit and AJK for Pakistan and Valley might go for the independence. He emphasised upon the fact that the political way out was the only solution and that the violence, from any side, was a tool to complicate the issue. He said that the militants were patronised and trained by the ISI, which derailed the indigenous movement of the Kashmiris. He said Kashmiris rejected the violence but they caught up in the two kinds of violence by militants and army. He supported the demand that the Indian army should go back to the barracks. He said that the question of nationalism was also complicated issue in Kashmir since Kashmiris should acknowledge the fact that there were many identities in the Kashmir. Answering a question, he said that the decrease in the Pakistan supported militancy was, at one hand, failure of the Pakistani establishment and, at the other, it was success of the Indian state, which resorted to violence but never gave in. 

Caron Danielle said that the Kashmir had a special place in her heart as she had visited the beautiful region many times. She said that Kashmiris were friendly and loving people but there were security issues that crippled their collective lives. She said that Kashmiris had suffered so much and now it was time to give them the solution. She said the just solution to Kashmir was important for the entire region of South Asia as 4 out of 5 main rivers originated from Kashmir. 

Ali Raza Syed said the event, in its essence, was a peace initiative directed towards seeking the resolution of a conflict that has lethal potential to develop into a threat to the existence of entire South Asia. This way, he said that they were gathered here as an effort to safe the collective future of the planet earth and human race as many leading think tanks and peace organisations have termed the Kashmir as the nuclear flashpoint of South Asia. 

He said he was very delighted to welcome the audience on behalf of organisers and volunteers of this symposium at one of the best and oldest universities of the world. He was delighted also to see some of the most capable youth of Pakistan had taken initiative in this regard. He said that symposium and exhibition was something they wished for years and still, they hoped to see that happening in all the major universities of the world. He said it was the only way to win the hearts and minds of the opinion makers of this world, which were so occupied by narrow strategic interests and engagements. 

He said it was only a start for us since they had a long journey ahead. He said he believed that they shall continue marching towards the destiny if they continued having trust of the true humanists and transparent international forums. Talking about one million signature campaign, he said that he believed that they would achieve their goal of bringing the conflict to the agenda of EU parliament. He said that he believed that they would wield the human rights advocates, peace promoters and activists of the world around them. He said their trust in human conscience was unshakable. 

Black Balloons to mark the black day

The demonstration was first ever of its kind in the political sphere of the struggle for Kashmiri rights. Hundreds of black balloons, marking the black day, were release to denounce the Indian hypocrisy that claims to be the biggest democracy of the world. On August 15 (the independence day of India) 2012, the demonstrators gathered in front of the EU office in Brussels and marched on bicycles towards the European Parliament where hundreds of the black balloons were released. The two hours drive of the cyclists carrying the black balloons attracted the attention of the pedestrians passing through the different avenues. 

The main slogan of the event was, “peace with justice in Kashmir” while placards contained slogans such as, “peace for all”, “peace for Kashmir”, “stop human rights violations in Kashmir”, Kashmir needs help”, “we want freedom” and “free Kashmir”. 

On the occasion, the chairperson of ICHD, Ali Raza Syed said that holding black day on the independence day of India shows that Kashmiri shall not accept the imperial occupation by India of their land. He said that India claims to be the biggest democracy and claims that its independence was achieved after a long struggle against imperialism. He regretted the fact that immediately after independence, Indian state opted to become the imperialist and curb the legitimate right of self determination of Kashmiris. He condemned the continuous killings of the Kashmiris by the Indian forces. He termed the killings as barbaric. “the Indian authorities have given their troops free hand to undertake the genocide of the Kashmiris”, said Ali Raza. 

A large number of Kashmiri expatriates and their sympathisers were present at the occasion. Meanwhile, the volunteers of ICHD collected signatures for their One-Million Signature Campaign as well. One volunteer of the ICHD demanded of the international community especially the human rights organisations to put the pressure on India to stop the rein of terror unleashed by the Indian troops in the occupied territory and redeem the right to self determination to the people of Kashmir. 

Solidarity Day in Hague

The International Council for Human Development (ICHD) and Kashmir Centre-Holland jointly organised a demonstration on 5th of February 2012 marked as the Solidarity Day. The demonstration was organised in Hague, Holland. A large number of participants including human rights activists, women, students and general people attended the event. 

The Solidarity Day is celebrated across the world to renew the commitment with the Kashmiri people who are fighting selflessly against a huge military force protected by the worst black laws. The participants raised slogans for the right to self determination of the Kashmiris.

Addressing the rally, chairperson of ICHD, Ali Raza Syed said that they expressed solidarity with the Kashmiri brothers leading miserable lives in Indian Held Kashmir. He said that Kashmiris were struggling for more than six decades for their legitimate right to self determination and in response they are being murdered, raped, imprisoned, tortured and humiliated. He said that the life conditions in the IHK are a scar on the collective conscience of the humanity. He said that the India authorities were no longer able to hide their crimes under the carpet as the entire world is becoming aware of the facts. He referred to many reports by the international human rights organisations that exposed the atrocities and human rights violations committed by the Indian authorities. Referring to unnamed mass graves, he said that it was only the tip of the iceberg as there were much more murders and disappearances in Kashmir. 

The executive director of Kashmir Centre-Holland, Dr. Zaib also condemned the fact that Kashmiris were not getting their right to self determination despite the fact that entire world community has, directly or indirectly, has validated their just demand. He mentioned numerous documents including UN resolutions in support of the Kashmiri demands. 

Reflections on Kashmir

The Kashmir Council-EU organised a seminar in Brussels titled, “Reflections on Kashmir” in collaboration with the association of Belgian doctors. A large number of doctors, intellectuals and activists, amongst others, participated in the seminar. Addressing the seminar, the chairman of KC-EU, Ali Raza Syed said that six decades of repression could be termed as a long time for any nation struggling against the foreign occupation bent upon committing human rights violations as abductions, rapes, torture, murders and disappearances. He pointed out the fact that the mutilated dead bodies were found everyday in the Indian Held Kashmir while girls and boys were disappeared in routine. He said that the discovery of the unmarked mass graves had shown to the world the real face of the Indian democracy. He lamented the fact that there was no serious response from the international community, which was silent despite knowing that 800,000 strong army was committing grave human rights violations in Kashmir.  He especially pointed out the fact that there was no health facilities for the people that are wounded by the Indian forces. He requested the doctors of the Belgium that they should send their delegation to the Indian Held Kashmir to see the real situation of the people that are facing torture every day. He said that the announcement by the Secretary Interior of India concerning the reduction of 25% army in Kashmir was nullified by an Indian commander. He said that the Indian state had made itself fully discredited.  
The ICHD showed a documentary film that reflected the miserable conditions of the people of Kashmir. Ali Raza Syed said that this film was a documentary proof of the life conditions in Kashmir. He said that the purpose of the seminar was to highlight the health related problems that were faced by the people of Kashmir. He told the participants about the One Million Signature Campaign launched by the ICHD by saying that the campaign was an effort to assemble the international opinion in favor of bringing the Kashmir issue on the agenda of European Union. 
Earlier, the coordinator of the Doctor’s Association, Dr. Adnan Farooqi said that their objective was to raise the awareness of the international community about the grave human rights violations in Kashmir. He said that their main focuse was the health issues espeically the lack of the emergency held to the wounded. He said that their concern was that the situation in Kashmir could bring danger to the entire region since the patience of the Kashmiris, in the wake of the horrendous misdeeds by the Indian forces, was getting thin. He said that it was very important to convey the message to the Indian state that their voice in the favor of the Kashmiris was being heard in the nook and corner of the world. 

One-Million Signature Campaign

The One-Million Signature Campaign is a timely and innovative initiative by the International Council for Human Development (ICHD) that has succeeded in getting widespread attention and support from across the sections of the European society. The campaign draws its justification from the provision in the EU system that any organisation or initiative with the European Union can bring any issue on the agenda of the EU if it shows that it has the support of one million citizens of the Europe. Though a gigantic task, the ICHD started this campaign considering the huge number of its members and sympathisers as a basic asset for such an effort. The campaign is by large a big success and brought unprecedented applause from not only Europe but also from the people and activists of IHK, Azad Kashmir, Pakistan and the Kashmiri diaspora communities from all across the world. 

The basic argument of the campaign relates to the question of peace in South Asia, in particular, and the peace in the world, in general. The thousands of the people, in different cities of the Europe, endorsed the call for the peace and justice for the oppressed Kashmiris victimised by the Indian forces. The campaign pleads to end the sufferings of the Kashmiri people and seeks the support by the general masses, intellectuals, journalists, civil society organisations, artists, women, labours and lawyers to come forward and support the cause of justice, and peace in South Asia. 

The International Council for Human Development (ICHD), through the One-Million Signature Campaign, expresses its deep trust on the EU institutions and their mechanisms that support the oppressed nations, communities and individuals across the world. In fact, the EU has always acted in the favour of the oppressed nation of Kashmir through its many resolutions, statements and other acts of solidarity. The reason why CHD applies so much efforts and resource to lobby its cause in EU parliament is that the words of support from the RU mechanism receive attention from all across the world. We believe that the EU institutions are the forums that are following the ideals and values described in UDHR and numerous other Human Rights based documents. 

The campaign started with a camp in front of the European Parliament at Place Luxemberg. The campaign has successfully organised the camps in different countries of Europe such as Holland, Germany, France, Spain,   Italy,   Greece, & UK. Already, a large number of the EU citizens have endorsed the campaign. After collection of one million signatures, they will be presented to the ‘European Parliament’s human rights committee’ to emphasise the violations of human rights in IHK Kashmir. 





Kashmir,Paradise on Earth or a Nuclear Flashpoint

Kashmir; Paradise on Earth or a Nuclear Flashpoint

By: Laura Schuurmans

Kashmir is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is located between the vast mountainous ranges of the Himalayas, the Karakoram and Pir Panjal which once was a popular tourist destination. Kashmir was rightfully called a “Paradise on Earth”. After the British Raj divided India and Pakistan in 1947, they became independent nations free from colonialism. The treaty of partition was based on the ‘Two Nation Theory’ that clearly stated that all parts of India with a majority Muslim population would become part of Pakistan and those with a Hindu majority would become part of Hindustan, today’s India. Then there were also the Princely States. These states had the choice to accede to India, Pakistan or in some cases to become independent nations. Kashmir was one of these Princely States with a majority Muslim population ruled by a Hindu Maharaja. Instead of joining Pakistan as per the will of the Kashmiri people, Maharaja Hari Singh decided to accede to India in August 1947. Fighting broke out in Kashmir among different factions, Indian armed forces positioned themselves in Kashmir and consequently war broke out between India and Pakistan in October 1947.  In January 1948 India brought the Kashmir dispute to the United Nations as both India and Pakistan wanted peace and order to be restored. Both countries agreed to hold a plebiscite for the Kashmiri people to decide on their future as stipulated in the United Nations Resolutions. However, instead of coming to terms, India and Pakistan fought two more full-scare wars in 1965 and 1971, and when both countries became nuclear powers the Kashmir dispute has potentially turned into one of the world’s most dangerous conflicts. Besides the potential dangers of the Kashmir dispute, the humanitarian suffering of the Kashmiri people has increasingly become a more serious concern. Since the creation of India and Pakistan in 1947, the people of Kashmir have been deprived from their right to self determination that has resulted in serious dissatisfaction of the Kashmiris. Kashmir is now one of the heaviest militarized regions in the world where seven hundred thousand Indian armed forces are keeping a Muslim population of seven million under tight control. India has claimed it keeps these troops in Kashmir to fight militancy crossing over from Pakistan. Since the past eight years, however, militancy has been at its lowest and an only estimated 800-1000 militant have been present in and around the Kashmir Valley. Indian armed forces, however, have seriously indulged in human rights violations.


Torture, rape and killing of innocent Kashmiris, has deeply frustrated the population as Indian troops have mostly gone unpunished for their committed atrocities. It has been hard to estimate the total number of deaths. Estimates vary from tens of thousands of civilians that have been killed while some human rights organizations have estimated that more than hundred thousand people have died since the insurgency started in 1989. This excludes and estimated 10.000 Kashmiris that have gone ‘missing’ in the conflict. Popular mass uprisings have been taking place in Kashmir, and in the summer of 2010 hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris went into the streets demanding freedom from India. Demonstrating in the streets of Kashmir, however, does not go without risk. Many unarmed and peaceful protestors have been killed by Indian security forces and the Kashmiri youth has increasingly become more angered by India’s occupation. Organizations like Amnesty International have been reporting that “the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is holding hundreds of people each year without charge on trial in order to “keep them out of circulation”. The 2012 Human Rights Watch report stated that “the Indian government failed to hold rights violators accountable or to carry out effective policies to protect vulnerable communities”. It also stated that “the – Indian – government also ignored the urgent need for policy reform despite widespread complaints of torture and unlawful killing”.  After more than sixty years, the people of Kashmir are still waiting for their promised referendum. Although India is fully aware that the Kashmiris never wanted to be part of India and their only way to hold on Kashmir is to keep the population under tight control, to enforce curfews, and to intimidate the Kashmiri youth, India has always claimed that Kashmir is an integral part of India which they claim was legalized by successive democratic elections. It has always accused Pakistan of not having met the preconditions to hold a plebiscite and claims that the 1972 Simla Agreement laid the foundation to solve the dispute through bilateral dialogue. While nations like East-Timor and South Sudan received widespread support from the international community to become independent states, the cause of the Kashmiri people has been ignored and the international community has been closing its eyes over the past six decades. Although the United Nations initially did play an important role in maintaining law and order in Kashmir, it has never been able to press for a settlement. More than 60 years later, the United Nations has barely shown any serious interest in the Kashmir dispute.  

After decades of armed conflict between India, Pakistan and within Kashmir, the Kashmir dispute is ripe for a solution. A solution to Kashmir will significantly improve peace and security of the South Asian subcontinent. Much has to be done, and this cannot be done without pressure from the international community. Human life is very important, human dignity is something we have all been striving for in our democratic environment, but for the people of Kashmir, their vote to determine the right of the future of their state, has often been ignored and forgotten. A solution to Kashmir, however, is possible if the bigger powers take serious interest in the issue and do not brush it aside for political reasons. The Kashmir conflict is a serious human dilemma and needs to be tackled with compassion to restore human dignity and bring back peace to South Asia. 

Kashmir issue confronts the human conscience

Kashmir issue confronts the human conscience

By: Ali Raza Syed 

Distinguished speakers and guests,

I am delighted to welcome you on behalf of organisers and volunteers event, which, in my opinion, has many unparalleled and unprecedented features for a peace initiative directed towards seeking the resolution of a conflict that has all the potential to develop into a threat to the existence of entire South Asia. This way, we are gathered here as an effort to safe the collective future of the planet earth and human race as many leading think tanks and peace organisations have termed the Kashmir as the nuclear flashpoint of South Asia. 

I apologise to you for starting my deliberations, and this event, by a negative image of extremely horrendous and unacceptable implications. But then, for me, this is the point where all the arguments for the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue converge themselves. Yes, the misery and injustice in Kashmir is not only the problem of a secluded community. The Kashmir issue is not only a conflict amongst many disputed borders existing on the face of the planet earth. The disappeared persons or raped women or brutalised children of Kashmir are not more important than unfortunate victims of the conflicts in Africa, Asia, Middle East or other parts of the world. Indeed, we can see so many parallels of the nature, dynamics, claims and counter claims, state repressions and victimisations in Occupied Kashmir. 

But Kashmir is not only a conflict. It relates to the collective future of human kind and it relates to every peace lover of the world. This is an issue that put questions on the collective human conscience; the question of power and justice. We believe that the justice should prevail upon the power. We believe that the fair play and honesty should prevail upon the petty political interests and we believe that the positive human values should supersede the power of greed, chauvinism, religious extremism and outright repression. 

I am not going to narrate here the history of the Kashmir nor will I refer to the numerous calls from the UN or international human rights organisation during last six decades. Rather I will only say that every human life lost in this conflict, every respectable woman raped or every injustice is the injustice done to more than one and half billion people of India, Pakistan and entire South Asia. This is the unfortunate region that is made hostage of this conflict for almost seven decades. This is the region that is lurking under extreme poverty, decease, illiteracy, bad governance, corruption. This is the region whose states are compelled to spend their meagre resources in building large armies and its lethal armaments including missile and nuclear programs. I will say that people of this region deserve totally opposite to it. 

I will not delve in details in the horrible issue of the mass graves. I don’t need to do this as the facts speak for themselves. More than 10,000 innocent people have been disappeared. I want to raise a simple point of common sense. And this relates to Indian government’s refusal to conduct DNA tests. At one level, they claim that everybody killed by Security Forces was a militant or an outsider. Well, proving their identity, by DNA tests, shall only strengthen their claim beyond doubt. However, it is intriguing to see that Indians are not interested in proving their asserting. Perhaps they know that this assertion is as baseless as their claim on Kashmir.    

I will emphasise again that the peace in South Asia is the primary emotional force behind some of us who founded this organisation literarily without any financial resources. We had only passion on which we could count on as our asset. We were few individuals without any provision of having an office or equipments or luxury as official transport. Yet, we had some strength. We knew that the highest guardian of human rights, the UN has unambiguous support for the hapless Kashmiri people.

We knew that numerous international human rights organisations have recorded their testimonies in the favour of Kashmiri people. We knew that all the humanist forums and individuals are always ready to support any transparent initiative for achieving justice to any hapless community or nation of the world. After short period of three years, the ICHD is seen as a success story and your presence here is the biggest proof of this. No other pride is bigger than this for the little group of ICHD founders, present here. 

However, it is only a start for us. We have a long journey ahead. I believe that we shall continue marching towards the destiny if we continue having trust of the true humanists and transparent international forums, which are represented here. I believe that we shall achieve the one million signature campaign and bring this conflict to the agenda of EU parliament. I believe that we shall wield the human rights advocates, peace promoters and activists of the world around us. Our trust in human conscience is unshakable. 

More than anybody else, my thanks are due to Mr. Sajjad Haider Karim who is the host of this event. In fact, he is the first example of the reality that honestly done efforts automatically bring honest people towards you. I must say that M    arjan Lucas and Sadia Mir are the founder strengths of ICHD. I am grateful to them and I am thankful to innumerable MEPs, friends, colleagues, journalists and scholars who are supporting us. I thank you all for coming here and filling us with great excitement, contentment and happiness.        

Kashmiris and Sikhs: Victims of oppression

The ICHD organized protest demonstration on 29th of March 2012 in front of the European Parliament. The protest demonstration was organized to emphasize upon the Indian authorities that the state repression shall not be able to silence the voice of the freedom lovers of the world. The demonstration gathered the participants in front of the Indian embassy in which, a number of human rights organizations and peace activists demanded that the Kashmiris should be allowed to exercise their right to self determination under international laws that are well recognized by the state of India. The political organizations of the Sikh community of India, the Sikh Khalsa and Babar Singh Khalsa movement also joined the demonstrators. 

Addressing the participants, the chairperson of ICHD, Ali Raza Syed urged the United Nations to take serious notice of the massive human rights abuses especially extra-judicial killings being committed by the Indian troops in Held Kashmir. “Indian forces are involved in massive human rights violations and it is our duty to inform the world community about the violations”, he said. He welcomed the visit of the UN Special Rappoteur, Christof Heys on the fact finding mission to India. He urged that the UN representative should meet people from every walk of life including aggrieved families, students, women, youth, labor, journalists, thinkers and artists. He pointed out towards the fact that the socio-political and economic life in Kashmir had been crippled. He said that the presence of the representatives of the Sikh movements proved that Indian government was trying to put the facts under the carpet. “Indian state is an imperialist state that is suppressing the will of people through force, which is not acceptable to any human rights activist”, he said.     

The demonstration was supported by a number of the members of the European Union. The participants raised slogans to condemn the atrocities committed by the Indian forces. One participant said that the Indian military forces were involved in the most horrible anti-human activities in Jammu and Kashmir. Another participant said that Indian state was using established black laws to protect their military personals that were perpetrating horrible atrocities including murders and rape, as the tool of suppression. He urged the UN to pressurize the Indian government to repeal the black laws. 

While talking to the sizeable media representatives, Ali Raza Syed urged European Union to send fact finding mission to India without any delay and play an affective role for peaceful solution of the Kashmir issue.   

Briefing at Norwegian Parliament

While addressing a seminar at Norwegian parliament on 9th February 2012, the chairperson of ICHD, Ali Raza Syed explained the plight of the Kashmiri people in the face of huge army deployment equipped with heavy armament and protected by various black laws. He said that they had a positive hope especially in the capacity of the Kashmiri people to relentlessly struggle for their rights. He said that his organisation and fellow comrades believed in the good sense of the major powers of the South Asia and international community that they would prefer justice and peace over war between two nuclear armed rivals. He said that it was a worrisome fact for every peace loving person that South Asia is increasingly being seen as nuclear flashpoint and a hub of the extremism. 

The event was organised jointly by Kashmir-European Alliance and the member of Norwegian parliament, Peter Skovhold Gitmark. Pakistan Ambassador to Norway, Ishtiaq H.Andrabi, Peter Skovholt Gitmark (MP), President Kashmir EU Alliance Pervez Ahmad, Chief Coordinator Ch.Mukhtar Ahmad and deputy speaker of Norwegian Parliament Akhtar Chaudhry also spoke on the occasion. Mr. Peter Gitmark said that Norwegians will try to help the people of Kashmir. He proposed to send a fact finding Mission to Indian Held Kashmir about unnamed mass graves, in particular, and Human rights situation, in general. 

Ali Raza Syed added that the collective human conscience of the peace loving nations like Norway had always been the great strength of their struggle for justice and peace. He said that the Kashmiri peace activists were always grateful to all the nations, individuals, institutions, organizations and forums that have consistently condemned the human rights abuses in Kashmir and have supported our call for the right to self determination. “I can clearly see that the commitment of this nation has enriched the peace movements of the entire world. I know that you shall always stand with us for our positive struggles”, he further said.
He said, “We have great hope to see that European Union is swiftly letting Indians to integrate in the different areas of cooperation. We wish them very best of it while saying that your persistent support for Kashmiris at all the prestigious forums of European Union should never go waste. Rather, it will succeed in giving light of hope to the other parts of the world. Let us believe that our collective struggle shall free South Asia from bigotry, hatred, suppression, torture and despotism. Let us believe that our children shall see a secure and dignified future, sooner rather than later”. 
Comparing natural beauty of Europe especially Norway with Kashmir, he said, “I cannot resist comparing the natural beauty of this part of the world with my region; Kashmir, which is called the paradise on earth. Unfortunately, the comparison ends here. We proudly see the prosperity, dignity, sense of security and a healthy relationship of citizens with their states and governments in Europe. We proudly see that kids are going to schools with dreams in their eyes and trust in their hearts. We proudly see that the institutions do provide maximum opportunity to an individual to grow and realize his or her potential. And we wish that this could happen to our unfortunate region as well. At the moment, for last seven decades, Kashmiris are living a life squarely opposite to this. Needless to say, however, we are not hopeless. In fact, this is the hope that is carrying us forward and giving us the strength to bear the hardships and insults imposed upon us. And this is the hope that enables us to carry on our struggle in Kashmir or in the other parts of the world”. 
Ali Raza Syed highlighted the efforts of ICHD while saying that it was committed to promote the cause of achieving an honourable life for the Kashmiris. He said they strongly believed in pronouncing their faith in collective human conscience and that the little steps towards enhancing the awareness about the plight of the Kashmiri nation lied at the base of their struggle for right to self determination. 

Emphasizing upon the positive approach to the issue, he said that they demanded the right to self determination for Kashmiris but that was not directed towards denouncing or damaging  the great people and great civilization of India. Yet, they denounced the high handedness of Indian state and its oppressive institutions. He denounced the fact that more than seven hundred thousands army men were breathing on the necks of the defenceless people. “We denounce the fact that our generations are growing under the fear and depression with no hope for a bright future. We denounce the fact that our great nation does not enjoy the right to choice, the right to assemble, the right to develop and above all, the right to life. We denounce the fact that we find thousands of dead bodies in the mass graves killed by the Indian forces. We denounce the fact that torture and rape has become a daily routine. We do all this in a positive hope for justice and peace. We believe that while doing this, the Indian state is doing a great injustice to the people and civilisation of India itself. We know that no nation can really grow out of guilt while committing such horrendous crimes towards humanity”, said Ali Raza Syed. 

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