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Put Self-Determination on the Human Rights Council Agenda - Independent Expert

08 September 2013
Published in Latest News

On the eve of the 24th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), beginning on 9th September 2013 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva - Barrister A Majid Tramboo, Chairman International Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) and the European Director of International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (IHRAAM) has welcomed the report of Alfred de Zayas, Independent Expert for the Promotion of Equitable and Democratic International Order which he has submitted to UNHRC.  The report will be presented by him on 10th September 2013 at the UNHRC’s above session. 

Barrister Tramboo recognised that, in pursuit of his mandate, Mr Alfred de Zayas has undertaken various activities associated with his mandate.  Referring to the expert consultation meeting on global enforcement mechanisms and means to achieve an international order, he pointed out that IHRAAM & ICHR were part of that process.

Expressing his views on the “Recommendation to the Council”, in the above report, Barrister Tramboo overwhelmingly endorsed: “The Independent Expert notes that the self-determination item was a permanent item on the agenda of the Commission on Human Rights.  Bearing in mind that self-determination is a pillar of the Charter and that it has not been achieved by many indigenous peoples, minorities, unrepresented peoples, and peoples under occupation, the council should resume consideration of self-determination as part of items 3 and 4 of its agenda.”

Barrister Tramboo applauded the Independent Expert for recommending: “The Council should consider holding a workshop on self-determination and genuine participation. A democratic deficit is ultimately a deficit in self-determination.”

He emphasised upon the UNHRC members and the civil society to support the Independent Expert recommendation that the Council should consider recommending to the General Assembly to bring specific legal questions concerning self-determination, war, peace, democracy, corporate social responsibility and debt cancellation to the International Court of Justice for advisory opinions. 

In his concluding remarks Barrister Tramboo stated that post-colonial military occupations have resulted in even greater threats to peace, as evidenced in the egregious situations of unrepresented peoples and nations, particularly those suffering ongoing foreign occupations, of which Palestine and Kashmir are classic instances.  These conflicts involve exacerbated human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity, with the peoples concerned facing torture, mass disappearances, extra-judicial killings, and genocide.

Joint statement by Barrister A Majid Tramboo, Chairman of International Commision for Human Rights (ICHR) and Professor Nazir Ahmad Shawl, Chairman of International Chamber for Peace and Conciliation (ICPC)

27 June 2013
Published in Latest News

Joint statement by Barrister A Majid Tramboo, Chairman of International Council for Human Rights (ICHR) and Professor Nazir Ahmad Shawl, Chairman of International Chamber for Peace and Conciliation (ICPC)

In a joint statement issued by Barrister A Majid Tramboo, Chairman of International Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) and Professor Nazir Ahmad Shawl, Chairman of International Chamber for Peace and Conciliation (ICPC) have stated that over the past few months there has been extensive consultation and exchange of views with the Kashmiri leadership and civil society concerning the institutional unification at the international level for the realization of the Kashmiris right to self determination and promotion and protection of their human rights.  Both the leaders have expressed their satisfaction and gratitude for the constructive and encouraging counsel that they received.

With a view to formulate a unified strategy, forward planning and resources, it has been resolved to merge the existing structures both at EU and UK to establish a unified international secretariat at London with a view to continue the work at the United Nations (UN), European Union (EU), Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC), and with the Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) and civil society.

Barrister Tramboo and Prof. Shawl have emphasized that this change of strategy will not slow down their meaningful work on the Kashmir cause but in fact it is likely to lead to wider lobbying, communication and understanding on the Kashmir issue.   

In the meantime, Chairman of All Party Group for Kashmir in the European Parliament (APGK), James Elles (MEP) held a get together of MEPs and other invited guests in recognition of the work that has been accomplished by APGK and ICHR together at the European Union in particular at the European Parliament.  Mr. Elles while recognising the assistance Barrister Tramboo extended to the APGK for highlighting the Kashmir issue  in the EP stated that together six Global Discourses and eight Kashmir EU Weeks were organised that resulted in unanimously passing various resolutions and reports by the Parliament. Similar views were expressed by other MEPs including Jean Lambert (MEP), Chairperson of the South Asia Delegation, Chris Davies (MEP) and Richard Ashworth (MEP).  Barrister Tramboo commended the work of APGK over the years, articulating that Mr Elles championed the cause of Kashmir within the European Union.  He appealed and hoped that APGK will continue its dedicated work on Kashmir in days to come including in the new Parliament in 2014.  

 

ICHR & IHRAAM hosts a conference on children of conflict - peace for upcoming generations

05 June 2013
Published in Latest News

International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (IHRAAM) and International Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) today hosted a conference entitled International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression: Children in Conflict - Peace for upcoming Generations. The conference explored the UN applicable mechanisms needed to address injustices to children and reviewed the prevailing situation that accounts for the ongoing abuses. The discussion examined ongoing armed conflicts such as the situation in Indian Held Kashmir, Palestine and Syria, where countless NGOs, agencies and observers have denounced the alarming situation children bear on daily basis as result of displacement, attacks and shortages; as well as disputes such as those entailing the traditional and Grassroots communities from Alaska, where children are constantly being neglected and discriminated due to their identities.

Speakers included Barrister A. Majid Tramboo, Chairman of ICHR and IHRAAM’s Permanent Representative to the UN; Dr. Ariel R. King, President of Ariel Consulting Intl and children human rights advocate; Ms. Lotte Claessens, child protection specialist; Dr. Krishna Ahoojapatel, Permanent Representative of WILPF to the UN; Ambassador Ronald Barnes, Permanent Representative of Indigenous Peoples and Nations Coalition to the UN and Prof. Nazir Shawl, Chairman of International Chamber for Peace and Conciliation.

As Chair and moderator, Barrister M. Tramboo outlined that children are probably the ones who suffer most from conflicts and unlike adults and elders who come to meet war and conflict after a life of relative peace, the impact of conflict affects children indeterminately for the rest of their lives. Barrister Tramboo then echoed the UN Secretary-General’s 2012 report on children and armed conflict, where some abuses in the current ongoing conflicts are so heinous that they represent grave violations of children’s rights under the UN Security Council Resolution 1612 that establishes six grave violations of children’s rights. He enumerated them as: recruitment and use of children, killing and maiming of children, rape and other grave sexual violence, abductions, attacks on schools and hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access to children. Such situations currently exist in conflict zones such as Indian Held Kashmir, Syria and Palestine-Israel.

Dr. Ariel R. King appreciated the holding of the conference and said that usually human rights are generally discussed from an intellectual point of view, nevertheless when dealing with human rights we must appeal to the heart and to feelings. She then shared a truly comprehensive and inclusive video presentation on children in conflict and the direct and indirect impact of conflict with all participants. “Shared responsibility also demands action” she added. Her associate, Ms. Elena Allendorfer encouraged all participants not to lose motivation to keep on fighting and defending the rights entitled to us by international law, especially not to give up on defending the rights of children who do not have a voice.

Dr. Krishna Ahoojapatel analyzed the developments on international law and highlighted that on most legislation women and children were always treated as one collective, but when it came to the ratifications, the states always responded differently. She classified the situation of conflict in four different categories: those perpetrated within the household, the one related to labor and exploitation, the one derived from war and terrorism and the one she called “collateral damage”, qualification she regarded as incongruous and deceitful.  She affirmed that the international community fails to implement all the legislation that has been made during decades; illustratively, she reported that after the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and its ratification, the child labor has increased worldwide. She declared that “the image or murder and killings does not affect us anymore, we have seen it so much we are numb”. 

Ms. Lotte Claessens thanked the panel for the opportunity and started by outlining shocking figures such as:  by 2011, there were 200 million people directly affected by disasters, including 100 million children; the number of civilian victims in conflicts has risen from 5% to over 90%, out of which at least half are children and that currently 1.5 billion children live in conflict-affected or fragile states. When addressing Child Protection Violations, Ms. Claesssen established several forms: family separation, child labour, the use of children in armed forces or groups and sexual violence. She then elaborated on her on-field work experience in Indian Held Kashmir by outlining the major issues affecting children, amongst which are: decades of violence, conflict, insecurity and instability; high levels of psychosocial distress among their communities; continuous risk to physical harm, exposition to gender-based violence and an overall weak (social and legal) protection system.

Prof. Nazir Shawl affirmed that when a war or conflict erupts: “the rules by which we adhere to no longer apply”. He stated that both children and women have historically borne the brunt of wars, thus places where conflict rages, sexual violence against women and children is not only an individual but a collective wound; he highlighted that the rape of a girl or a woman is seen as an attack on their family and their culture which ignites the conflicts. Moreover “no peace treaty to date has formally recognized the existence of child combatants”, he emphasized, to which he added “the exploitation of children as soldiers persists in many armed conflicts because child recruiters are rarely held accountable; most child victims of violence and sexual abuse are girls, but boys are also affected both directly or indirectly”.

Ambassador Ronald Barnes gave two examples of conflict: landmines and depleted uranium from bombs, but states that aggression does not only include violence. Children can also be harmed in non-conflict situations. The United Nations adopted resolutions in 1949 calling for education to be in the Indigenous languages. Aggression comes in different forms for peoples of non-self-governing territories for peoples under colonial domination. The concept of aggression was first used to prosecute Nazi War Criminals under Nuremberg principles. The International Law Commission expanded those principles in 1947. The General Assembly adopted the definition of aggression under resolution 3314 (XXIX) in 1974. Damage can occur to the language and the culture, and the livelihood of the peoples.  He used the example of the Residential school system in Canada as another example of aggression and harm to children.

 

 

After a round of questions, and for the final remarks, Barrister Tramboo expressed his gratitude to all distinguished guests, and gave the honor to close the dialogue to Dr. Ahoojapatel who finally emphasized the necessity to read the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Charter and to advocate for it to be rightly implemented, so that the international community reaches its goals.

ICHR hosted Kashmir EU Week in the European Parliament

29 May 2013
Published in Latest News
The 8th Annual Kashmir Week "Reconciliation: Kashmir, India and Pakistan" in the European Parliament commenced from the 27th of May 2013.  The event is organised by ICHR - Kashmir Project under the sponsorship of Nikki Sinclaire MEP.

 

 

 

Press Conference:

In preparation for the inauguration reception on the 29th of May 2013, Nikki Sinclaire MEPBarrister A. Majid Tramboo, Prof. Nazir Shawl and Frank Schwalba-Hothheld a press conference in the press room of the European Parliament.

 

Addressing the press conference Sinclaire MEP stressed that the Kashmir dispute need to be addressed by politicians and the reason that it is not getting any media is probably the politics of convenience. She expressed that she will continue bringing the Kashmiri issue to the political agenda of the EU.

 

Barrister Tramboo considered the European Parliament’s recent Resolution as a commitment of the European community in support of the human rights advocacy in Jammu and Kashmir. He stated that the European Parliament must push for a dialogue between India and Pakistan involving the leadership of Kashmir for progress to genuine reconciliation and realization of Kashmiris rights to self-determination.

 

Professor Shawl stressed on the importance of role that can be played by the Kashmiri communities in United Kingdom and in Europe in influencing the politicians to tackle on the Kashmir dispute. He also congratulated ICHR and the European Parliament for the recent Resolution on the hanging of Afzal Guru. 

 

Mr. Shwalba-Hoth said that the European Union must play the role of an honest broker in the Kashmir issue and to bring Kashmir to the EU’s political agenda. He highlighted the work undertaken by ICHR for the past decade and congratulated Barrister Tramboo for the recent achievements.

 

The Inauguration of Kashmir EU Week:

The official inauguration of the 8th Kashmir EU Week in the European Parliament took place in the galaxy of MEPs, officials from both the European Commission and the European Council, representatives from embassies and missions, NGO and civil society representatives and staffers of the European Institutions. Welcoming the guests,  Barrister A. Majid Tramboo elaborated on the main focus of the exhibition which is to bring reconciliation between Kashmir, India and Pakistan and to end the human rights abuses in Indian Held Kashmir. He Highlighted the decade of work undertaken by the ICHR setting the trends to effectively and meaningfully to continue to keep the Kashmir issue on the EU's radar. 

 

Barrister Tramboo articulated that our partnership in Europe has always paid dividends and the clear example of this is the Norwegian recent debate on Kashmir lobbied by the Kashmiri Scandinavian Council.

 

 

Hosting the reception, Nikki Sinclaire MEP stressed on her political convictions and on her commitment to the Kashmiris and their situation, since as citizens we must not only talk about social responsibility, we must demonstrate it. She stated that after her visits to different regions such as Tunisia, Gaza, Bahrain and Afghanistan, she is convinced  of the urgency to implement, defend and protect fundamental values and human rights. She stated that since elected in 2009, she has supported the right of the Kashmiri people to self determination, since it is a basic human right. She finally stated that this initiatives show there is a global commitment to speak out against injustice and repression.

Prof. Nazir Shawl said that the European Parliament recognises the dangerous potential of the 65 year Kashmir dispute both as a threat to security, stability and peace in South Asia, and also an impediment in the economic development of the region. He pleaded for an inclusive structured and sustained dialogue between India, Pakistan and Kashmiris. He declared that the self-determination of the people of Jammu & Kashmir is non-negotiable. 

Eija Riitta Korhola MEP highlighted the pressing issue of the death penalty in India and expressed her satisfaction on the recent European Parliament Resolution of Afzal Guru’s secret execution. She further emphasized on the urgency to establish the moratorium on death penalty in India and stressed that the body of Afzal Guru must be returned to his wife and family in order to exercise his religious rites. 

Jean Lambert MEP stated that Kashmiri people must have the right to address and decide on their future. She stated that since there is a new government in Pakistan and there are upcoming elections in India, opportunities arise to advance towards reconciliation and the peace for Kashmir.

Phil Bennion MEP highlighted the need to place the Kashmir issue further in the political agenda, especially within the EU institutions. He declared that  a sustainable and just peace settlement can only be reached by involving the people of Kashmir in the Indo-Pakistan dialogue, which is why he support a plebiscite as a key part of a peace process.

Tunne Kelam MEP stated that Kashmir conflict is the longest ongoing conflict in history and the European Parliament should address the grave human rights violation in the area.

Krisztina Morvai MEP highlighted the deterioration of women’s situation in Kashmir as a result of the conflict and stressed the European Parliament to address these abuses. She also wrote a letter to the UN Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict about these abuses.

Continuing the call of uniting both parts of Kashmir, Barrister Tramboo along with all invited MEPs expressed their commitment to the Kashmir plight by approaching the model of the Chakoti bridge and joining hands in the hope to reach a peaceful solution to the Kashmir conflict. 

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