REPORT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL
“THE JAMMU AND KASHMIR DISPUTE”
TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS
OUAGADOUGOU – BURKINA FASO, 28 JUNE – 1 JULY 1999
The right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to self determination was recognized by the United Nations, as early as 1948.
2. On that basis, several international resolutions were adopted by the Security Council on the subject stating clearly that the final disposition concerning the status of Jammu and Kashmir should “be made in accordance with the will of people expressed through the democratic method of impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations”. After accepting these resolutions, India reneged on its commitments and continued to claim that “Kashmir is an integral part of the Indian territory”. It also continued its illegal occupation of Kashmir.
3. The deteriorating situation in the occupied Kashmir poses a serious threat to peace and security in South Asia. The Jammu and Kashmir dispute is the major cause of continued tension between India and Pakistan, and of increasing security fears in the region. It is also the motive that led the two countries recently to carry out nuclear tests which nearly brought the South Asia region to the brink of war.
4. India has put the blame on Pakistan for the mounting struggle in Kashmir. The Indian authorities, however, have not responded to Pakistan’s proposal for the deployment of international observers to monitor the line of Control. They have even sought to restrict the presence of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) in Kashmir.
5. According to statistics collected by a number of human rights organizations since 1990, tens of thousand Kashmiris have been killed, wounded, burnt alive, or maimed for life in addition to the increasing numbers of missing or displaced persons, and the destruction of homes, hospitals and commercial premises. Thousands of Kashmiris are languishing in Indian prisons and detention centres. Reports of international human rights organizations have confirmed the gross and repeated violations of human rights in Kashmir.
6. The Summit and Ministerial Conferences held since 1990 have adopted many resolutions on the Kashmir issue.
7. In 1993, the General Secretariat requested the approval of the Indian Government for a proposed visit by an OIC Fact Finding Mission to Jammu and Kashmir. The request however, was rejected by the Indian Government. The Secretary General submitted the Report of the OIC Fact Finding Mission to the Twenty-First Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers. The Report revealed a gruesome picture of the terrible ordeal to which the innocent people of Jammu and Kashmir are subjected as a result of the repressive policy pursued against them by the Indian security forces. It observed that the situation in Kashmir requires a strict compliance with the principles of international humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of August 12, 1949 Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. It recommended that the OIC Member States should exert efforts at all levels to prevail upon India to end its acts of repression in Kashmir.
8. The Indian Government held elections for the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly in September, 1996. The international media and the Indian civil rights groups criticized the methods used to carry out the elections, indicated that the army had been assigned to force people to vote, and expressed support for the holding of a plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations in accordance with the Security Council resolution. The All-Parties Hurriyet Conference (APHC) declared that no elections held under Indian occupation would be acceptable to the people of Kashmir and called for the holding of a UN supervised plebiscite pursuant to the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
9. The Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Summit Conference held in Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan on 23 March 1997 reaffirmed its adherence to the fundamental human rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the exercise of their right to self determination in accordance with the relevant UN resolution. It condemned the gross violations of human rights in Kashmir and reaffirmed that no political process or elections under foreign occupation could be a substitute for the exercise of the right of self determination by the people of Jammu and Kashmir. It also issued a Special Declaration on the issue reaffirming the commitment of OIC Member States to promoting a just and peaceful solution to the dispute pursuant to the UN resolutions and expressing support for the fundamental human rights of the Kashmiri people including their right to self determination. The Declaration also expressed support for the efforts of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir dispute through a serious and meaningful dialogue with India.
10. The OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir, which was set up by the Seventh Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers held in Islamabad on 7-9 September 1994, has played an important role in coordinating the efforts of Member States to promote the right of self determination of the Kashmiri people in accordance with UN resolutions and safeguard their fundamental human rights. The Contact Group held a number of meetings at ministerial level and alongside the UN General Assembly in New York in 1995, 1996 and 1997. The meetings were addressed by the True Representatives of the Kashmiri People. The Group also met outside the Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva to draw the attention of the international community to the large scale violations of human rights by the Indian authorities in Jammu and Kashmir and to express support for the struggle of the Kashmiri people for the exercise of their right to self determination in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council. The Secretary General attended the Fifty-third Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva on 17 March, 1997, and drew its attention to the human rights violations committed against the Kashmiri people. He urged the Commission to take concrete steps to end the suffering of the people.
11. The Annual Coordination Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the OIC Member States was held at the UN Headquarters in New York on 2 October, 1997. It endorsed the Memorandum on Jammu and Kashmir dispute presented by the True Representatives of the Kashmiri people. It also adopted a Declaration on Jammu and Kashmir and called for a peaceful settlement to the Kashmir issue pursuant to the relevant UN resolution. It expressed its solidarity with the oppressed Kashmiri people.
12. The OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir held a meeting at ministerial level and another at summit level during the Eighth Islamic Summit in Tehran. The two meetings reaffirmed complete solidarity with the struggle waged by the people of Kashmir to regain their right to self-determination in accordance with the U.N. resolutions.
13. The Eighth Islamic Summit Conference, held in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran (December 1997) reaffirmed the previous Islamic resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir. In this regard, it called for a peaceful settlement to the Jammu and Kashmir issue pursuant to the relevant UN Resolutions and as agreed in the Simla Agreement. It condemned the continuing gross violations of human rights of the Kashmiri people and called for the respect of their human rights including the right to self determination. The Conference supported the initiative taken by the Government of Pakistan to engage in a dialogue with India aimed at resolving all outstanding issues including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir, and urged the Government of India to respond to these efforts. It commended the efforts made by the Secretary General to enable the True Representatives of the Kashmiri People to express their views through the OIC and other international fora, and requested him to continue to take the necessary steps in this regard.
14. The OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir met in Doha, State of Qatar in March 1998 during the Twenty-fifth Session of the ICFM to review the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and adopted the recommendations of the Meeting alongwith the Memorandum presented by the True Representatives of the Kashmiri People.
15. The Twenty-fifth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers held in Doha in March 1998, adopted a Resolution No.9/25-P, which, inter-alia, condemned the continuing gross violations of the human rights of the Kashmiri people. It supported the efforts of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to initiate a bilateral dialogue to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and called on the Indian Government to respond positively to these efforts. It requested the Secretary General to establish contacts with the Governments of India and Pakistan and the True Representatives of the Kashmiri People aimed at promoting a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute. It also expressed its appreciation of the efforts made by the Secretary General in this respect.
16. A meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir was held in Geneva on April 15, 1998 during the Fifty-fourth Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights. The Representatives of the Kashmiri people submitted to the Contact Group a memorandum on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The Group expressed its support for the struggle waged by the Kashmiri people to regain their right of self determination in accordance with the Security Council resolutions.
17. The OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir met at the Ministerial level at the United Nations, New York on September, 1998. The Contact Gorup was addressed by the True Representatives of the Kashmiri people who were invited to attend the meeting. On behalf of the True Representatives of the Kashmiri people a Memorandum on the Jammu and Kashmir Dispute was presented by the Kashmiri representatives. The Meeting expressed its support for promoting the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people in accordance with the UN resolutions. The Meeting supported the efforts of the Government of Pakistan to initiate meaningful dialogue for resolving the Jammu and Kashmir Dispute. The Meeting urged the OIC Member States as well as the Islamic financial institutions, including the Islamic Development Bank and Islamic Solidarity Found to provide humanitarian assistance to the Kashmiri people.
18. The issue of Kashmir has two inter-related aspects, namely, the continued denial of the exercise of the Kashmiris’ fundamental right to self-determination as stipulated in the relevant UN resolutions, and the serious violations of the human rights of the Kashmiri people. These two aspects must be addressed simultaneously. It is incumbent on the international community, in particular the UN, to fulfill its historic obligation towards the cause of the people of Jammu and Kashmir by ensuring the implementation of its relevant resolutions. At a time when the gravity of the situation in Kashmir is increasingly realized, at international level, it is essential to translate the aroused fears into concrete steps to protect the fundamental human rights of the Kashmiri people.
19. The Secretary General welcomed the visit of the Prime Minister of India to Pakistan and his negotiations of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, in February 1999. He hopes that the visit may promote understanding and encourage dialogue between the two countries in order to settle all outstanding issues between them.
20. The Secretary General remains concerned over the growing tension between India and Pakistan due to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute following India’s launching of a medium-range ballistic rocket on 10.4.1999 which could spark off a war in the South-Asia region. Diligent action to reach a peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute on the basis of the relevant resolutions of the Security Council is therefore essential for achieving peace and security in the region.
21. The Secretary General submits this Report to the Twenty-sixth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers for consideration and appropriate decision.