ISLAMABAD: Participants at a seminar called for urgent action by the international community to relieve the plight of the Kashmiri people.
The seminar titled “Human Rights Situation in Jammu and Kashmir and its Effect on Vulnerable Communities – Women, Children, Old and Youth” was arranged by the Kashmir Council of Australia at the Parliament House of New South Wales (NSW). The event was attended to by senior NSW parliamentarians from both ruling and treasury benches, including Shaoquett Moselmane, Labour Party Member Legislative Council (MLC); David Shoebridge, Greens MLC; former federal senator Lee Rhiannon; Prof Jakelin Troy of the University of Sydney; Kyser Trad, founder of Islamic Friendship Association of Australia; and a number of academics, scholars, teachers and members of Kashmiri and Pakistani community.
“I see this event as the renewing of our efforts to stand with the people of Kashmir – for their right to self-determination; for families to be reunited; for the violence to end. Peace with justice must be restored in Kashmir and across South Asia,” former senator Lee Rhiannon said while speaking on the occasion. “Since the end of British colonialism, many people have spoken out for the rights of Kashmiri people. Now we need to build strong, united, international solidarity to amplify the voice of Kashmir,” she said.
“Calling for peace alone has little meaning if the people of Kashmir cannot decide their own future. UN human rights report on this region provides a pathway out of the decades of abuse and neglect that the people of this region are forced to live with,” she said, adding that the report does provide a unique opportunity to elevate the struggle for peace and justice in Kashmir onto the world stage.
“We must note that the Kashmiris, like the Palestinians, like the Aborigines in Australia, like Jewish people who resisted in the Warsaw Ghetto, like the people who fought in the French revolution have the legal right to resist occupation,” she said while referring to armed struggle in Kashmir. “Surely, the Australian government should lobby the Indian government to lift the ban on foreign journalists and to support the important Committee of Inquiry going ahead. We also need to do everything to facilitate the independent investigation having free access within Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) in the same way that Pakistan has agreed to. Our priority has to be mobilising public opinion in support of the people of Kashmir. We need to face the fact that this is one of the most ignored and least reported on oppressed regions and international flashpoints there is,” she concluded.
In his remarks, Shaoquett Moselmane called for respect of human rights of Kashmiris and urged all parties to come together for the sake of peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
Member of NSW Parliament from opposition benches David Shoebridge regarded the Kashmir issue as an unfinished injustice of colonialism. He emphasised the need to respect the human rights of Kashmiris, including the right to self-determination.