What Kashmir needs from the International Community

The people of Kashmir are facing systemic cultural erasure and are continuously subjected to human rights violations every day. Yet, much of the cries for an end to the crisis are shrugged off by a world beset by crisis.
In this blog, we’ll look at the current crisis and what the governments of the world can do to bring it to an end.

The world governments ignore calls for self-determination

There is an unspoken rule of international politics – don’t get involved in someone’s backyard. When one looks at the members of the U.N. Security Council, it is not difficult to see how most members hold territorial possessions of dubious legitimacy. China holds Tibet, Russia invaded and annexed Crimea, the United States has not resolved the colonial status of Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom still holds the Falkland Islands even after the war with Argentina.
This line of thinking is at the heart of why governments often do not acknowledge the self-determination movements in other countries. Simply by acknowledging the existence of these movements, they risk criticism and domestic pressure from groups in their own people seeking the rights of self-government.
In the minds of most politicians, silence equals stability.

Silence is violence

Silence in the face of oppression only aids the oppressor. The unresolved status of Kashmir has resulted in seventy-three years of conflict. Over 100,000 civilian deaths, over 10,000 missing and an untold number displaced. It has brought an end to all civic, economic, and cultural life as the military occupation grinds on.
The blatant and escalating human rights abuses have been universally condemned by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Genocide Watch, Amnesty International, Asia Watch and Physicians for Human Rights. At least 1,253 youth were reported by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to be blinded by metal bullets fired by Indian forces between 2016 and 2018 alone.
The simple truth is that without international pressure – the ongoing crisis in Kashmir will not end.

The international community must honor their commitments

Unlike many of the territorial disputes listed above, the United Nations Security Council recognized the rights to Kashmiri self-determination during the partition of India. U.N. Security Council Resolutions are binding upon the member states, and it is time for the international community to live up to the promise they made to the people of Kashmir.
While it will not be easy, the foundation to resolving the Kashmir crisis is possible, but only if the governments of the world act.

A path to peace

International pressure must be brought on India for its assault on Kashmiri sovereignty. Here we shall outline a six-step plan for peace:

  1. Immediately lift the military siege, restore all internet connectivity and communications links and release all political prisoners, including women, underage children, journalists and civil society members.
  2. Allow unfettered access to monitor and report human rights violations by credible international bodies, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, U.N. rapporteurs and more
  3. Halt and rescind all laws instituted to accelerate demographic changes and promote the ethnic, cultural and political cleansing of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
  4. Disarm and withdraw all Indian military and paramilitary personnel from the occupied territories and allow Kashmiris to exercise their unfettered right of self-determination through a free and fair referendum, as agreed to by both the governments of India and Pakistan and the United Nations Security Council.
  5. Stop targeting and summarily dismissing civil servants in all government services by the Indian-appointed Lieutenant Governor in Kashmir.
  6. Stop detaining Kashmiri students and academics at Indian ports of entry and exit while travelling abroad in pursuing advanced studies in different universities.

This is the only way that the conflict in Kashmir can be brought to an end. For nearly seventy-four years, ignoring the problem has not produced stability the West has hope for. It is time to break the silence in favor of action for a lasting political settlement.