New York. September 20, 2023.The OIC Ministerial Meeting of the Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir was held today, September 20, 2023 at the United Nations headquarters, New York on the sidelines of 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Hissein Brahim Taha, the Secretary General of the OIC. It was attended by the foreign ministers and senior officials of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Niger and representative of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The ministers reaffirmed their support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their struggle to achieve the right of self-determination that was promised to them by the United Nations. The ministers also expressed their fervent desire to see an immediate end to the sufferings of the people of Kashmir so that conditions are created for a sustained and meaningful dialogue between Pakistan, India and the leadership of the people of Kashmir.
Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani, the foreign minister of Pakistan apprised the members of the Contact Group about the deteriorating and serious situation in Indian occupied Kashmir, saying that “The current Indian leadership is bent upon perpetuating India’s occupation of Jammu & Kashmir.” He warned the members of the Contact Group that newly enacted laws are designed to change the demography of Kashmir. Otherwise, why India has issued millions of domicile certificate to Indian citizens to settle in Kashmir, he asked?
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, participated today in the meeting of the Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir organized by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), on the sidelines the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 78). Addressing the meeting, Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stands by the Muslim peoples in maintaining their Islamic identity and preserving their dignity.
The foreign minister also reiterated the Kingdom’s support to the afflicted people in areas witnessing conflicts and unrest, including the people of Jammu and Kashmir region.
Saudi Foreign Minister added that the Jammu and Kashmir issue constitutes one of the pressing challenges facing the security and stability of the region, the foreign minister said, warning that leaving the issue unresolved will contribute to regional instability. The Kingdom is exerting unremitting effort to mediate between the parties of the conflict in order to reduce escalation and achieve calm and a peaceful settlement to the issue in accordance with the relevant international resolutions, the foreign minister said. Such efforts emanate from the Kingdom’s unwavering stance in support of Islamic peoples. Deputy Minister for International Multilateral Affairs Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Rassi and Director-General of the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulrahman Al-Dawood attended the meeting.
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, representing the people of Jammu and Kashmir conveyed the gratitude of the people to brotherly member states of the OIC Contact Group for their steadfast and unwavering support extended to them in their struggle for the right of self-determination.
Dr. Fai added that the issue of Indian occupied Kashmir continues to be unresolved and international community has almost relinquished and retracted from the promise that was made to them in 1948. – the promise of right of self-determination under the auspices of the United Nations. To break the will of the people of Kashmir, India has deployed over 900,000 soldiers fully armed and with unlimited powers under the draconian Kashmir specific laws which have wreaked havoc in the region. The atrocities inflicted on the hapless Kashmiris have been documented by Indian and international human rights organizations, like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, including 47 pages report issued by the United Nations High Commissioner on Human rights.
The following nine recommendations were made by Dr. Fai to the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir for immediate action.
1. OIC must re-educate the members nations of the UN General Assembly that the conflict of Kashmir is primarily about the right to self-determination, no ifs and no buts.
2. OIC must persuade the United Nations to convey to the Government of India to rescind the Domicile Law which is designed to change the demography of Kashmir and change the majority Muslim character into a minority community
3. OIC should also convince the United Nations to prevail upon India to repeal all draconian laws, including Unlawful Activity Prevention Act (UAPA), Public Safety Act (PSA) which are being used to forcibly silence the people into submission.
4. Given the report, issued by the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights on June 14, 2018 & July 8, 2019, regarding the ‘Situation in Kashmir’, we request the OIC members of the Human Rights Council to endorse this report and initiate a joint OIC resolution to set up an enquiry commission on human rights violations in Kashmir during the forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to be held in February 2024.
5. Widely use and disseminate testimony of Dr Gregory Stanton, Chairman, ‘Genocide Watch’, which he gave to the United States Congress on January 12, 2022, and repeated that Kashmir was at the brink of genocide.
6. The OIC must provide ‘safe havens’ for the Kashmiri Diaspora, especially those fleeing oppression in Occupied Kashmir – scholars, activists, journalists, and businessmen – in OIC member states, in an institutional manner, like opening up visas / jobs / relocation facilitation for such skilled and professional Kashmiris, for whom living in Modi’s India has become unbearable.
7. In the ‘battle of ideas’ for Azadi (Freedom) of Kashmiri people, OIC must promote the 3 core causes together: PKR (Palestine, Kashmir, Rohingya); establish a special website, combining genocide with resistance.
8. OIC should allocate emergency scholarship fund to the meritorious students of Kashmir who are the victims of Indian state terrorism.
9. OIC must persuade the Government of India to release all political prisoners unconditionally, including Mohammad Yasin Malik, Shabir Ahmed Shah, Masarat Alalm, Aasia Andrabi, Khurram Parvez, and others.
A Joint Communique was adopted unanimously during the Contact Group meeting which condemns the protracted detention of the entire Hurriyat leadership, the genuine voice of the Kashmiri political aspirations, and thousands of political activists, journalists and human rights defenders.
The Communique also reads:
Reaffirming the inalienable right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
Rejecting the conduct of the G-20 Tourism Working Group Meeting, held in Srinagar on 22-24 May 2023, which aimed to legitimize India’s illegal occupation of the IIOJK and sought to project a facade of normalcy in the occupied territory.
Denouncing India’s continued refusal to allow the OIC Special Envoy, the OIC- Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), the UN Special Mandate Holders and international civil society organizations to visit IIOJK.
Welcoming the role played by the relevant UN Special Rapporteurs, world leaders, parliamentarians, human rights organizations, and international media, in raising their voice against illegal Indian occupation and then ongoing egregious human rights violations in IIOJK.
The Joint Communique also:
Denounced the Indian authorities’ fresh plea seeking death penalty for one of the renowned Kashmiri leaders, Yaseen Malik, who is incarcerated and has already been awarded life imprisonment; and mandated the Special Envoy on Jammu and Kashmir to take appropriate steps to raise voice against the possible award of death penalty to Malik.
Rejected the illegal and unilateral actions taken by India on August 5, 2019, as well as subsequent steps to undermine the internationally- recognized disputed status of the IIOJK and to alter its demographic structure and political landscape.
Appreciated the countries, which decided to dissociate themselves from the G-20 Tourism Working Group Meeting in Srinagar, and,
Barrister Sultan Mehmood Choudhary, President Azad Kashmir & Mr. Ghulam Mohmmad Safi, representative of All Parties Hurriyat Conference addressed the Contact Group via zoom.
Barrister Sultan Mehmood Choudhary, President, Azad Jammu Kashmir said that Kashmir is one of the oldest issues, pending on the agenda of the United Nations security Council. The urgency dictates the United Nations and the OIC must come forward to support the people of Kashmir in their struggle to achieve the right to self-determination.
Mr. Safi highlighted the grave situation in Kashmir and emphasized that the Kashmir dispute needs to be resolved for the sake of international peace and security. The inaction and passivity of the world powers has given sense of total impunity to 900,000 Indian soldiers in occupied Kashmir, Mr. Safi told the group.
Dr. Fai is also the Secretary General, World Kashmir Awareness Forum.
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