LAHORE: Speakers at a seminar on Tuesday condemned the role of the United Nations for not taking measures over human rights violations being committed in India-held Kashmir and also for not implementing its resolutions.

The seminar to mark the International Day for Human Rights was organised by Punjab University Department of Gender Studies, in collaboration with Ministry of Human Rights and Christian Care Foundation, at Pervaiz Hassan Environmental Law Auditorium.

PU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Niaz Ahmad, MPA Mahindar Singh Pal, MPA Ayesha Iqbal, Department of Gender Studies Chairperson Dr Raana Malik, Ministry of Human Rights Director General Lubna Mansoor, Director General Commerce Azhar Iqbal, faculty members and a large number of students participated in the seminar.

Prof Ahmad criticised the silence of the United Nations and other advocates of human rights, saying the international community was not taking serious notice of human rights violations in India-held Kashmir. He said the UN was a useless body because it had failed to implement its charter on human rights and resolutions on Kashmir.

The VC said there was complete lockdown in the valley for the last 128 days and Kashmiris had no access to medicine and were not being allowed to bury their beloved in graveyard. He pointed out that the India government was not following the decision of its Supreme Court and the rights of Muslims, Sikhs and Christians were being usurped.

Mr Pal said India had converted the held Kashmir into the largest jail of the world and violations of human rights demanded us to mark the Kashmir Day instead of marking the International Day for Human Rights.

He said he was wearing green turban to express solidarity with the people of held Kashmir.

Mr Iqbal urged the women to get education and help each other to ensure protection of their rights. He added GSP Plus status was connected with human rights situation in Pakistan and 27 conventions and treaties were signed in the wake of the status out of which seven were associated with human rights. He said that improvement in human rights situation could enhance Pakistan’s exports to foreign countries.

Ms Malik said it was necessary to ensure human rights for achieving sustainable development goals.

Later, the participants in the seminar held a protest demonstration to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir.

Minister: Punjab Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Ijaz Alam Augustine said on Tuesday the Indian government had clearly been violating Indian Constitution’s article 137 for more than 127 days.

He conveyed a message on behalf of the nation that Pakistanis would always stand by their Kashmiri brothers and sisters.

He said this at an event held to mark the International Day of Human Rights by his ministry at Alhamra.

The minister, in response to demands by children, said that many initiatives had already been taken to eliminate child labour across the province, while the government was working on more effective legislation regarding the rights of women, especially girls.

“Our government has started more than 100 programs in Punjab with the collaboration of civil society and welfare institutions,” he said.

“Today we must pledge not to tolerate any kind of humiliation of humans in any form and not be silent bystanders when a human rights violation is taking place before our eyes.” Pastor Shahid Miraj made a special prayer for the prosperity of the country and for the freedom of occupied Kashmir.

The day also focused on children, and a charter of demands was presented by children from an NGO which demanded free and compulsory education in Punjab province, elimination of child labor, prevention of forced marriages, more work on children’s welfare and formation of provincial commission for child rights.

Children with special needs from the Center of Darthee presented a song performance titled ‘Be Cruel and Also Peaceful’. The audience appreciated the performance and applauded for them.

They also condemned the human rights violations in Kashmir. Mr Augustine distributed prizes to Attiya Khadim and Khansa Sarwer from the Aisha Degree College who came first and second in a painting competition on the theme of Kashmir. Ashma Imran from the Government College of Samnaabad received a prize for third position.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2019