Freedom and Justice Must Prevail Above All

Washington, D.C. December 1, 2009.  Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director, Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center will participate in the forthcoming Parliament of the World’s Regions to be held between December 4 to 9, 2009 at Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Fai will present two papers, one entitled, “Building Peace in Pursuit of Justice: The Issue of Kashmir” and the other entitled, “The Role of Religion in Mediating Conflict.”  Other panelists include: Mr. Stein Villumsted, Norwegian Church Aid; Dr. Thomas Daffern, International Institute of Peace Studies and Global Philosophy, Great Britain; Mr. Joanne Blaney, School of Forgiveness and Reconciliation, Brazil; Dr. Sohan Lal Gandhi, Anuvral Global Organization, India; Mr. Fiyaz Mughal, Faith Matters, Great Britain; Mr. Sadik Kirazli, University of Melbourne, Australia; and Ms. Rasheeda Cooper, Committee of Management for the Islamic Women’s Welfare Council, Victoria, Australia.

The Parliament’s website reads that “As the world’s largest interreligious gathering, the Parliament will convene religious and civil leaders and people of faith, spirit and goodwill from at least or more than 80 countries; invite over 10,000 participants to work together for a just, peaceful, and harmonious society.”

It further reads that “The Parliament educates for global peace and justice by: exploring religious conflict and globalisation as defining challenges in the twenty-first century and provides tools for responding effectively; helping participants identify religious and spiritual responses to local, regional, and international challenges to peace and justice; educating civil societies to deal with global and regional issues.

Dr. Fai said that the International peace has been recognized over the years as an essential condition for the enjoyment of human rights and justice for all. In an environment of turmoil and tribulations, the very concept of human rights becomes a mockery.  The most promising way to prevent conflict is to eliminate its causes.

The Executive Director reminded that after an end to the ideological confrontation between East and West, the international community had reason to hope that hostilities in many parts of the world would also come to an end and the residual regional conflicts would be resolved peacefully through negotiations. However, contrary to our expectations, in many parts of the world, bloody conflicts are raging which have destroyed all the hopes for a humane and stable world order.  The unresolved conflicts of Palestine and Kashmir are a challenge to international leadership and the human conscience

Dr. Fai  believes that peace and justice in Kashmir are achievable if pragmatic and realistic strategy is established to help set a stage to put the Kashmir issue on the road to a just and durable settlement.  Since, we are concerned with setting a stage for settlement rather than the shape the settlement will take, he believes it is both untimely and harmful to indulge in, or encourage, controversies about the most desirable solution of the Kashmir problem.

Dr. Fai reiterated that peace, justice and human dignity cannot take a back seat as societies globalize their trade, supply chaining, and outsourcing.  Freedom and justice must prevail above all political and economic aspects of international trade, relations, and treaties even if it requires canceling trade agreements with countries that blatantly allow gross human rights violations to continue.

He emphasized that the South Asian region furnishes an undeniable evidence of how respect for human rights cannot be achieved without first creating conditions for international peace. The people of Kashmir were pledged by no less authority than the UN Security Council to exercise their right to decide their future under conditions free from coercion and intimidation.  The denial of this right is directly inter-related with the peace of the region.

Dr. Fai hoped that the lecture would make valuable contribution not only to build peace in the pursuit of justice, but also to build stronger partnership between members of various religious groups and civil society for this important task.