UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues (Fernand de Varennes) stated that holding a #g20 meeting in #jammuandkashmir while massive #humanrights violations are ongoing is lendingsupport to attemps by #India to normalize the brutal & repressivedenial of democratic & other rights of #kashmiri #Muslims and #minorities. G20 should on the contrary uphold “International human rights obligations& the #UN Declaration of Human Rights should be upheld... and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir should be decried and condemned, not pushed under the rug and ignored with the holding of this meeting”.
“Human rights violations have risen dramatically in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir since 2019 when theGovernment of India revoked the special status of the region”, warned a UN Independent Expert, one week before a scheduled G20 meeting is scheduled to be held in Srinagar.
“By holding a G20 meeting of the working group on tourism on 22-24 May”, warned Fernand de Varennes, UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues, “the Government of India is seeking to normalize what some have described as a military occupation by instrumentalising a G20 meeting and portray an international ‘seal of approval”, despite what VolkerTürk, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, told the U.N. Human Rights Council a few weeks ago was a "worrying human rights situation in the Kashmir region.”
The Special Rapporteur issued a statement today describing the massive rights violations as including torture, extrajudicial killings, denial of political participation rights of Kashmiri Muslims and minorities, following the suspension of democratic rights and local elections with direct rule from New Delhi on 6 August 2019.
“The situation there has – if anything – become much worse since myself and fellow UN independent experts transmitted a communication to the Government of India in 2021. We then expressed our grave concerns that the loss of political autonomy and the implementation of the new Domicile Rules and other legislation could alter the demographic composition of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir, may result in political disenfranchisement, and significantly reduce the degree of political participation and representation of the Kashmiri and other minorities previously exercised in the former state, undermining their linguistic,cultural and religious rights”, he said. “On all counts this seems to be occurring on the ground, in a repressive and sometimes brutal environment of suppression of even basic rights”.
The Independent Expert noted that there have been reports of significant numbers of Hindus from outside the region moving into the region so that dramatic demographic changes are underway in Jammu and Kashmir to overwhelm native Kashmiris in their own land”.
According to de Varennes, the G20 is unwittingly providing a veneer of support to a facade of normalcy at atime when massive human rights violations, illegal and arbitrary arrests, political persecutions, restrictions and even suppression of free media and human rights defenders continue to escalate. “International human rights obligations and the UN Declaration of Human Rights should still be upheld by organisations such asthe G20”, he added, concluding that “the situation in Jammu and Kashmir should be decried and condemned, not push under the rug and ignored with the holding of this meeting”.