Shattered Peace

The first half of 2024 has seen a troubling continuation of state repression and counter-insurgency operations in the war-torn region of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). A recent report by the Forum for Kashmir (LFK) paints a harrowing picture of the human rights situation in the region, drawing on data from official IIOJK records, media sources, and NGOs’ fact-finding missions, alongside firsthand accounts from victims’ families.

The meticulously fact-checked report reveals alarming violations of International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) between January and June 2024, leading to widespread human tragedies. The international community’s response to these “Atrocity Crimes” has been inconsistent, failing to address adequately the severity of violations, some of which qualify as war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Documented abuses include heavy-handed repression, the confiscation and demolition of civilian properties, land grabbing, torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial executions. These acts form part of a broader pattern of systemic violence against Kashmiris, perpetuated by the occupying authorities.

Particularly targeted have been human rights defenders and journalists, who face excessive force and repressive policies under anti-terror laws. These laws have been weaponized to criminalize the activities of human rights organizations, civil societies, socio-religious groups, and digital media networks in IIOJK, overriding the universal protections enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and other international conventions.

On-the-ground research provides disturbing evidence of escalating “atrocity crimes” against civilians in this UN-recognized disputed territory. These findings highlight severe human rights abuses arising from a transitional phase of settler colonialism, appearing as an intentional strategy to alter the region’s demographic composition.

Since the revocation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, which granted special autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir, the occupying authorities have flagrantly disregarded regulations and protocols designed to safeguard the local population’s health and environment. This neglect has exacerbated an already dire situation, leading to a deepening health and environmental crisis in the region.

The LFK report serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing plight of the Kashmiri people and the urgent need for a robust international response. As the situation in IIOJK deteriorates, the global community must hold the perpetrators accountable and advocate for the protection of human rights and the restoration of justice in this embattled region.

Shaheen Khan
Shaheen Khan

is a student of BS Political Science at Punjab University, Lahore and can be reached at shaenkhan1990@proton.me

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