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Thursday, 10 July 2008 - Strasbourg

European Parliament resolution of 10 July 2008 on allegations of mass graves in Indian-administered Kashmir

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the reports of its ad hoc delegation visits to Kashmir from 8 to 11 December 2003 and from 20 to 24 June 2004,

–   having regard to its resolution of 18 May 2006 on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2005 and the EU's policy on the matter(1),

–   having regard to its resolution of 24 May 2007 regarding the present situation and future prospects of Kashmir(2),

–   having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas it is reported that hundreds of unidentified graves have been discovered since 2006 in Jammu and Kashmir and whereas at least 940 bodies have reportedly been found in 18 villages in the Uri district alone,

B.   whereas the Srinagar-based Association of the Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) issued a report on 29 March 2008 indicating the existence of multiple graves in localities which, because of their proximity to the Line of Control with Pakistan, are not accessible without the specific permission of the security forces,

C.   whereas, according to human rights organisations, it cannot be excluded that the grave sites contain the remains of victims of unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other abuses which have occurred in the context of armed conflict persisting in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989,

D.   whereas estimates of the number of persons having gone missing since 1989 vary greatly, with associations of families of victims speaking of more than 8 000 and government authorities claiming fewer than 4 000,

E.   whereas a state police report of 2006 confirmed the deaths in custody of 331 persons and 111 enforced disappearances following detention since 1989,

F.   whereas allegations of human rights violations continue despite the Government of India's commitment in September 2005 not to tolerate human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir any longer,

G.   whereas Parvez Imroz, an award-winning human rights lawyer, president of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society and founder of the APDP, survived an armed attack on 30 June 2008 in Srinagar by alleged security forces members, and whereas other members of the International Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir, which is being facilitated by the APDP, have reportedly been harassed,

1.  Calls on the Government of India urgently to ensure independent and impartial investigations are undertaken into all suspected sites of mass graves in Jammu and Kashmir and, as an immediate first step, to secure the grave sites in order to preserve the evidence;

2.  Calls on the Commission to offer financial and technical assistance to the Indian Government in the context of the Stability Instrument for such thorough investigations and possible further conflict resolution measures in Kashmir;

3.  Calls on the Member States to address the issue in the forthcoming dialogue on human rights, which is to take place in the second half of 2008;

4.  Expresses its concern for the safety of Parvez Imroz and other human rights activists who are investigating the unmarked graves and other allegations of human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir, and calls on the Indian authorities to ensure their protection and allow them to operate without fear of harassment and violence; urges the authorities to conduct a prompt and impartial investigation into the attack on Parvez Imroz, to make the results public and to bring those responsible to justice;

5.  Reiterates its call on the Indian Government and the state authorities to investigate all allegations of enforced disappearances; urges jurisdiction for all cases in which military, security or law-enforcement agents are suspected of being involved to be assigned to a civilian prosecutor's office, and a single public database of all persons who have gone missing and all bodies that have been recovered to be created; calls on Member States to facilitate and support all possible cooperation between the Indian and Pakistani Governments in relation to this investigation;

6.  Calls on the state authorities to ensure that all detention procedures meet the minimum requirements of international legal standards, proper treatment, registration and prosecution, prompt access to family members, to lawyers and to independent courts, as well as accountability for any violation of such procedures;

7.  Strongly condemns the unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture, rape and other human rights abuses which have occurred in Jammu and Kashmir since the beginning of the armed conflict in 1989; insists that the families of the victims be granted full reparation;

8.  Calls on all governments to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, to ratify and implement without reservation the UN Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and, pursuant to Articles 31 and 32 of that Convention, to declare that they recognise the competence of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances;

9.  Calls for full access to be granted to both sides of the Line of Control for the UN Special Rapporteurs under the terms of reference of the UN Special Procedures, notably the Special Rapporteurs on Torture and on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions and the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances;

10.  Calls again on the Lok Sabha to amend the Human Rights Protection Act in order to allow the National Human Rights Commission to investigate independently allegations of abuse by members of the armed forces;

11.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the government and parliament of India, the government and parliament of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the government and parliament of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and the UN Secretary-General.

(1) OJ C 297 E, 7.12.2006, p.341.
(2) OJ C 102 E, 24.4.2008, p.468.

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