Human Rights Violations in Kashmir and the Reaction of Germany

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An exceptional record of multi-layered human rights abuses in the Indian occupied parts of Kashmir has become an undeniable reality and an irrefutable truth of the contemporary international system. The presence of Indian security forces in the occupied areas of Kashmir has resulted in massive human rights violations, which has been considered as an effective tool for curbing the Kashmiri voices of freedom. The continuation of an aggressive New Delhi’s policy for the occupied areas of Kashmir is fundamentally structured on different brutal treatments to the local people. The arrival of ideologically radical government in Indian politics further augmented the sufferings of Kashmiri society with the implementing of a month-long curfew. An indefinite period of security lockdown has added another phase of bloodshed in the history of disputed Kashmiri areas where the suppression of the local Muslim population has become a key element of New Delhi’s Kashmir policy. Thus, the miserable conditions of India-occupied areas of Kashmiri society have been noticed by leading international human rights organisations. The alarming human rights situation in the Indian-Occupied Kashmir has been identified by various prominent intergovernmental and nongovernmental organisations such as the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International.

Apart from different intergovernmental and nongovernmental circles of the international community, Germany’s decision for declining the supply of arms to India based on its poor record of human rights in the occupied areas of Kashmir has inaugurated a new debate in world politics. The decision to prohibit arms sales to New Delhi is inherited in Germany’s active role of promoting the greater values of human rights around the globe. The German government has recognised respect for human rights as an essential feature of its diplomatic standards globally. Furthermore, the German government has secured a respectable position among the members of all major UN human rights conventions and their supplementary protocols. Based on its appreciable efforts for supporting the global human rights campaigns, Germany has preferred to uphold the human rights ideals in its foreign relations generally and its bilateral connections with India particularly. According to an online document SIPRI Fact Sheet published in March 2020, India appeared prominently in five major arms importers of the world. Germany became India’s sixth-largest supplier of small arms in response to New Delhi’s dramatically increasing weapon imports from the technologically advanced and economically developed nations. No doubt, Germany emerged as the largest trading partner of India from the European continent. Still, the German government preferred to support human rights over their commercial interest in India’s bilateral relations.

The genesis of German-Indian relations is inherited in the deep commercial, diplomatic, and political ties. The governments from both sides have explored several technological avenues for cooperation in security and defence. The two-sided naval cooperation has become another key factor in augmenting the mainstream areas of strategic cooperation between Germany and India. The shared strategic interests in the Indian Ocean Region convinced the two-sided governments to develop various domains of strategic partnership. The leaders of both nations under different governments have finalised a close collaboration in the field of military technology as well. In addition to Germany, the Indian government has signed different arms deals with many counties under a broader framework of New Delhi’s strategic bilateralism.  India has established strategic connections with approximately thirty states from different regions. The bilateral strategic interaction with many states has enabled New Delhi to secure multiple arms supplies from different directions, which has made India the biggest arms recipient in the South Asian region. Moreover, New Delhi has signed different civil nuclear agreements with more than thirteen states across the globe under the larger rubric of its strategic bilateralism. After Germany realises human rights violations in the India-Occupied Kashmir, the greater responsibility now lies at the international community, where the proponents of peace and human rights have acquired influential positions in the mainstream decision-making process. Analogues to Germany, the states involved in bilateral strategic ties with India needs to realise the persistently rising levels of various human rights violations in the presence of Indian security forces in Kashmir. Apart from considering the potential role of the Indian strategic partners in respecting the fundamental values of human rights in Kashmir, New Delhi is trying to achieve a prominent status in the different intergovernmental and nongovernmental efforts for promoting and supporting human rights in the world. The Indian government has joined a group of 117 nations in the form of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR), and the members of UNHCR states are unable to prevent the violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in the Indian occupied areas of Kashmir. In addition to UDHR, the members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) are pursuing their bilateral strategic relations with India without bothering the increasing levels of human rights abuses in Kashmir. In short, an overwhelming wave of human rights violations in Kashmir has become a permanent feature of regional South Asian politics. The extra-regional powers are reluctant to seriously consider the miserable picture of Kashmiri society living under Indian illegitimate occupation.

In the presence of the scenario mentioned above, Germany’s refusal for supplying small arms to India is purely a bilateral matter of two independent states. However, Germany’s response to the massive human rights violations in Kashmir is an appreciable step for generating peaceful forces in the South Asian region. German’s vision for upholding the greater values of human rights in the conflicted land of Kashmir has given a new direction to the role of extra-regional powers in South Asian regional politics. In this way, the leaders of the different nations supporting Indian inclusion in the various international multilateral frameworks need to realise the suffering of Kashmiri society trying to survive under Indian occupational forces. An active and balanced role of the international community in South Asian regional politics can maximise the scope of peaceful forces by influencing India on the respect of fundamental human rights values in Kashmir. A unanimous stance of the international community following the German example will not only be effective in ensuring the respect of fundamental human rights in Kashmir, but it will compel New Delhi to seriously consider the need for a peaceful resolution of the decades-long territorial conflict with its nuclear neighbour.      

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Dr. Attiq ur Rehman
About Dr. Attiq ur Rehman 4 Articles
The author is Assistant Professor at National University of Modern Languages, (NUML) Islamabad

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