WASHINGTON: Unabated Human Rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK) need immediate attention of international organizations and institutions invested in upholding universally accepted International Human Rights. President Masood Khan made these remarks in a meeting with the leadership of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the US Congress.

While visiting the Capitol Hill today President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan was received by Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), Co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the US Congress.

Describing the current situation in the Indian Occupied Kashmir to the Commission’s leadership, President Masood Khan said that India had unleashed a reign of terror in the occupied Kashmir. The unspeakable atrocities perpetrated against innocent civilians should cause the world community to view Indian Occupied Kashmir as a region of concern, the President said.

Pointing to various independent reports on the state of Human Rights in IoK, President Masood Khan said that the killings, torture, enforced disappearances, mass blinding and use of public humiliation had been used as instrument of coercion against the people. In addition, Indian forces were also culpable in killings civilians across the Line of Control in Azad Kashmir in violation of the ceasefire. In doing so, President Masood Khan said, India was not only using disproportionate force but was also making no distinction between combatants and civilians.

President Masood Khan also highlighted the dark prospect of systematic alteration of demography of the Jammu region by threatening local Muslim communities through criminal gangs. India was forcing illegal settlers in settlements in the occupied territory by creating Pundit and ex-Army personnel colonies. Such transfers of populations in an occupied territory are a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Additional Protocol I, as well as UN Security Council, General Assembly and Human Rights Commission’s Resolutions.

The President AJK said that India’s policy of repression in Occupied Kashmir was a violation of International Humanitarian Law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and scored of Human Rights Conventions and Treaties. “The international human rights community must take cognizance of this outrage which is visited on Kashmiris everyday in pursuance of dark, draconian laws devised by India to bludgeon Kashmiris into submission”, he said adding that this gives “immunity from prosecution” to occupation troops.

President Masood Khan said that India was using excessive force and flagrantly infringing the recognized principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in a conflict situation. Indian occupation forces were targeting civilians (non-combatants) and systematically persecuting unarmed population of the occupied Kashmir.

In viewing the Kashmir dispute, the President said, self-respect and aspirations of the people of Kashmir must not be lost in the fog of regional strategic interests. He reiterated that silence by international community on Human Rights violations in Kashmir had emboldened India to unleash a region of terror with full fury and absolute impunity.