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Chief Minister to discuss International Tribunal for Human Rights and Justice memo on JK rights situation

Hello All,
There is a positive news from Kashmir. The new Chief Minister has agreed to discuss International Tribunal for Human Rights and Justice memo on JK rights situation.
From Greater Kashmir Daily:
Srinagar, Feb 13: The chief minister, Omar Abdullah on Friday said that he
would discuss the memorandum mailed to him by the International People's
Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Jammu and Kashmir to address the human
rights situation in the state.
"Yes I have received it through mail. It is my duty to consider it and
discuss it in the government," the chief minister told Greater Kashmir.
The International Tribunal for Human Rights and Justice in JK today presented
a detailed memorandum to the chief minister asking him for appropriate action
regarding human rights including disappearances, mass graves, torture, fake
encounters, prisoner's rights.
"We write you today mindful of how the conditions for peace and
prosperity are linked to the possibility and necessity of justice in Kashmir. We
hope that Tribunal would be allowed to continue with its work in conditions that
are not impeded," the memorandum says.
The associate professor Anthropology California Institute of Integral Studies,
Dr Angana Chatterji, founder Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society Parvez
Imroz, editor consultant economic and political weekly Gautam Navlakha and
journalist Zahir-Ud-Din are convenors of the Tribunal in JK.

SET UP TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
The memorandum reminds chief minister of his promise to establish a 'Truth
and Reconciliation Commission. "We hope the chief minister will appreciate
such a process and facilitate the implementation of justice as a precondition to
reconciliation. But we realize that TRC can only be formed after
demilitarization takes place," it says.

PROBE ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES
On enforced disappearances the Tribunal has asked for a full-scale
investigation under provisions of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, and/or
other relevant laws, within a stipulated and reasonable timeframe. "We ask
as well that all laws of Jammu and Kashmir incorporate the premise of the United
Nations Declaration on the Protection of All Persons From Enforced
Disappearance, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons
from Enforced Disappearance, and the Convention Against Torture and Other
Treatment or Punishment," the ITHJ memorandum says.
It has asked the chief minister to use his authority to take strong and
effective preventive measures to ensure that atrocities are not repeated in
future.

FOLLOW PENDING CASES
"We urge that the cases that have been pending in courts, and those that
have not been filed, be expeditiously dealt with and justice be done. We ask the
government of Jammu and Kashmir to follow the cases pending for sanctions before
the Government of India's Home Ministry under Section 7 of Armed Forces
Special Powers Act, 1958, (AFSPA). We ask that the state make public the number
of cases in which sanctions have been sought from the GOI, and the number of
cases in which the same have been granted," the memorandum adds.

'PROTECT MASS GRAVES'
About the mass graves the ITHJ says that existence of mass graves in Kashmir
had been verified by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons and the
International People's Tribunal for Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir in
2008.
It says there are connections between the number of persons disappeared and
these unmarked, unidentified, nameless, and unknown graves. "We also note
that various international institutions and bodies, such as the European
Parliament, have referred to this issue and made recommendations for action. We
ask that your government offer protection to the sites to not permit their
desecration or destruction, enable independent and transparent investigations
drawing upon varied, credible, and international expertise, and institute an
independent and transparent judicial commission of inquiry," says the
memorandum.

BAN TORTURE CENTERS
The ITHJ asks the state government to institute a comprehensive ban on
practises of torture as defined by international law and humanitarian ethics.
The GOI is yet to ratify the Convention Against Torture and Other cruel
punishment, although it has been a signatory since October 1997.
The ITHJ has asked that unlawful detention and torture centers be made public,
and banned. "We ask that international institutions, such as the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), be permitted to visit the above
places to assess the situation independently," the memorandum adds.

PROTECT WOMEN
"The women have been victimized by rape, and collective gang rape. Other
categories of victims include whose male partners are missing and are labeled as
half-widows. Government should ensure safety and security of the survivors and
victims, and take requisite measures to rehabilitate them," the memorandum
says.
It says the prisoners' rights must not be violated. They should be provide
medical aid in time and their right to legal counsel should be protected.

PROTECT RIGHTS OF FORMER MILITANTS
Regarding the rights of former militants memorandum says the civil liberties
of former militants and their families must be respected. "Civic and
political rights of former militants are being violated. We note that some of
them have been subjected to torture after serving sentences and many still have
to report in camps on weekly basis," the memorandum says and adds,
"Former militants and their families continue to be subjected to
maltreatment and denied access to social life, such as to institutions,
employment, and pensions."

ENACT LAW TO GUARANTEE JUVENILE JUSTICE
The memorandum demands the youth must not be taken into custody, held, or
tried as adults, and that their rights to legal counsel, due process, and fair
and speedy trials be upheld. "We ask that a law be enacted that guarantees
juvenile justice, that safeguards the rights of juveniles in conflict with law,
and neglected and destitute juveniles," it says and adds, "We ask that
all persons seeking to access institutions of law and justice be retreated with
respect and non-violence by law enforcement agencies."

BAN USE OF LANDMINES
"We ask that the state government to institute a comprehensive ban on the
use of landmines. An audit be conducted to ascertain the impact of landmines on
local communities, to determine the extent of casualties, devastation, and
displacement, and undertake rehabilitation of those affected and
de-mining," the memorandum says.

MAKE PROBE REPORTS PUBLIC
The memorandum demands the reports and findings of various Inquiry commissions
that were set up in past 20 years to probe human rights violations be made
public.
"Between 2000-2007 only three statutory inquiries were commissioned and
other inquiries instituted were magisterial and administrative probes," the
memorandum adds.

Please forward and you can read the full story here: http://www.greaterkashmir.com/full_story.asp?Date=14_2_2009&ItemID=51&cat=1

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