5th February 2021 marked Kashmir Day and I was honoured to attend several Kashmir events, including virtual conferences in Brussels, Canada, and the US. I raised the plight of Kashmiris and urged the international community to help broker peace in the region and ensure that UN resolutions are upheld.
Spanning 73 years, the conflict in Kashmir is the longest unresolved conflict on the agenda of the UN. Concern for the human rights of the Kashmiri people is at the heart of Labour’s approach to this issue. Reports from the region are deeply troubling and the UK Government must urge the Indian authorities to cooperate with the UN to allow them to investigate reports of human rights abuses.
Since 2017, clashes have intensified in the disputed territory of Kashmir, with evidence of human rights abuses by the Indian military, such as the use of pellet guns and tear gas against peaceful protestors.
Jammu and Kashmir has been in an Indian army-imposed lockdown, with the Indian government citing security risks and the need to prevent violence. The lockdown, along with a communications blackout which has had a profound and far-reaching impact on every aspect of life in Kashmir, including health services, school closures and press freedom.
As Vice Chair of the APPG on Kashmir I regularly table Written Parliamentary Questions on this troubling issue, urging the Government to take action and make representation to the Indian authorities.
The APPG on Kashmir understands that any attempts to resolve matters must be bilateral. However, we adopt a “people first” approach that prioritises the human rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and breaks the vicious cycle of violence that has engulfed the region for far too long.