UN’s R2p an interim remedy for Kashmir


Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan

The mass atrocities in Kashmir are a daily routine. An indefinite curfew keeps people incarcerated with the help of hundreds of thousands military and security forces. The five basic crimes against humanity are committed with impunity. These are:

Rape,genocide.ethnic, cleansing and crime against humanity. At the line of control our innocent civilians including women and children are killed and soldiers martyred while in defence. In the vocabulary of international law  it is an international conflict involving a disputed territory.  The constitutional change by an executive order while the assembly of the state was not  in session is all farce and a bluff.

what is the peaceful remedy.

The state of Pakistan seems reluctant in taking the human rights issue to the ICJ unlike what The Gambia has done successfully.

The other remedy which comes to mind is R2P or responsibility to protect.

Jimmy carter of the USA while addressing the General assembly in 1977 stated:”no member of the UN can claim that mal- treatment of its people is solely its responsibility.” In the absence of a world sovereign a need was felt to address issues of human rights violations by states. The concept of absolute sovereignty of states pinned in the west Phalia declaration called for a revisit. Otherwise crimes like genocide,ethnic cleaning etc  committed in Rawanda, and the Balkans would have gone unnoticed. The Rome  statute was one answer . But acceptance by states for invoking jurisdiction is an impediment for Pakistan who did not ratify the  Rome treaty.

Anyway we are left with R2p. In its 65th session of the general assembly the largest gathering of heads of states and Government,which included Mr Man Mohan Singh of india and Mr Samroo of Pakistan,-made the millennium declaration and established the international norm to halt the massive atrocities as a collective responsibility of nations .It called for timely and decisive collective security council action when-national authorities manifestly fail to protect its populations from aforesaid crimes

The UN resolution 1674 affirmed the declarations of the 2005 world summit outcome document and asked the Security Council to act and protect civilian population in armed conflict. A global centre for R2P was created and a strengthened Human Rights council.  This council has its head quarters in Geneva.  It has already given its reports on Gaza, Lebanon conflict Rohingya Muslims  . It even hosted Hamas So the mechanism was established. And we have to use it .I have seen in Geneva how active groups agitate and  they are heard. We should involve the special rapporteur office in this context as well

Unlike in the case of the ICJ where states can only invoke jurisdiction I do not think such a locus standi condition is manifestly stated. It therefore has a more flexible approach to a complex problem.  Like in the case o Universal progressive review  and alternate reports by non govt bodies. I therefore think groups of citizens can also agitate the HR issues .Even if we do not succeed against the influential India  in first attempt we can steadfastly make more. The purpose is to draw attention and expose India recurringly.  Presently the state efforts seem dormant . Intensive lobbying is needed.

Another contemporaneous way is to use the NIHR ( National institutions of human rights ) in around 170 countries for conveying Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir. Our own NCHR is made dysfunctional and the Kashmir committee is without experienced leadership to effectively carry the awareness forward and win support. The support from most of the Muslim countries too is scant. This bespeaks of the state of our foreign affairs. We are also not making the government of Azad Kashmir active propagandist. Their kith and kin are suffering. Kashmiri have not been successful in getting recognition for the UN like the Palestinians,. It now falls to common citizens to take the lead and start agitation before the council and the High commissioner human rights in Geneva.

Justice (r) Ali Nawaz Chowhan is

Ex Chairman,

National Commission  for Human Rights, 

Government of Pakistan. Formerly: Chief Justice Of The Gambia

International Judge Of The UN at The Hague.

Co-Chairman, UNESCO Appeal Board-Paris, France.