Posted on Aug 30, 2019
On August 7th, a cross-party group of Members of the European Parliament signed a letter to Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy & Vice-President of the Commission, calling for her to "seek ways for the European Union to engage with all regional actors to mediate a solution to this long standing crisis".
The European Union is founded upon the principles of respect for human dignity, human rights, freedom, democracy and the rule of law. The EU should stand steadfast in support of these principles and values where ever in the world we find them challenged.
The MEPs referred to media reports that the Indian army used cluster ammunition near the Line of Control, reportedly killing two civilians, on July 30th. noting that the use of cluster ammunition would amount to a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions and of the international humanitarian law.
A Presidential decree of August 5th abolished Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which guaranteed autonomy for Kashmir, proposing that the Jammu and Kashmir state be divided into two "union territories" directly ruled by India.
"We are concerned that this will inflame the already worsening situation in the region that is home to over seven million people; according to international press reports, telephone, internet and cable networks were all cut off on the night of 4 August and some local leaders were put under house arrest. According to some sources the politicians under house arrest include at least two former ministers of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir" the MEPs said.
Irina von Wiese, First Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights, who has recently returned from a fact-finding mission to Pakistani administered Azad Kashmir, has offered her high level support.
I believe that any political approach must take into consideration the human rights of Kashmiris, in line with the UN resolutions and the OHCHR report. I will continue to support the people of Kashmir and push for human rights to be upheld.
Ms. von Wiese, in an e-mail to Mr. Maqsood, stated that it is her further intention to follow up with the Indian authorities, and to seek similar access to Jammu and Kashmir.
"Dialogue between India and Pakistan through diplomatic channels is crucial and assistance from the European Union could be contemplated in this regard", she told him.
The following MEPs were signatories to the letter of August 7th.
- Irina von Wiese, MEP
- Shaffaq Mohammed, MEP
- Phil Bennion, MEP
- Judith Bunting, MEP
- Chris Davies, MEP
- Antony Hook, MEP
- Martin Horwood, MEP
- Lucy Nethsingha, MEP
- Sheila Ritchie, MEP
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