28 September 2013
Today, the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh will address the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. The Prime Minister may be expected to discuss India’s security concerns and credentials for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. The Prime Minister will seek to be statesmanlike and convincing on India’s position and place globally. The Prime Ministers address before the General Assembly will in essence be a re-iteration of India’s credentials and record as the world’s largest democracy.
Unfortunately for the Indian State, its record in Jammu and Kashmir includes more than 8000 victims of enforced disappearances, 7000+ unknown, unmarked and mass graves, killings, torture, sexual assault and numerous other human rights violations. The Indian States record in Jammu and Kashmir includes a State Human Rights Commission [SHRC] finding of October 2011 that confirmed the phenomenon of unknown, unmarked and mass graves. Numerous recommendations were made by the SHRC, including Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid [DNA] testing and forensic examinations of the bodies in the graves. Further, the SHRC recommended that an independent body be set up to enquire into the issue of unknown, unmarked and mass graves. The record of a State lies not just in its acts, but also its omissions. To date, none of the recommendations of the SHRC in this matter have been acted upon. No DNA testing, no forensic examinations and no further enquiries. In addition, India has not ratified the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance, not allowed the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances to visit India, and to date the crime of enforced disappearance is not recognized by India under its domestic laws. Alleged perpetrators of crimes of enforced disappearance [and other abuses] are not investigated or prosecuted. To date, the Indian State has ensured absolute impunity as not a single armed forces personnel has been prosecuted for crimes committed in Jammu and Kashmir. The perpetrators are protected and rewarded. The victims, and the crime, dismissed and ignored.
The Indian State has no moral right to claim any credibility internationally. The Indian States record in Jammu and Kashmir must not be rewarded. On the contrary, international pressure and condemnation must be immediately brought to bear on a State that has no regard for the rule of law, or human life in Jammu and Kashmir. APDP will continue to struggle to highlight the true record of the Indian State in Jammu and Kashmir.