April 2007 News

EU member asked to amend draft report on Kashmir

27 April 2007
The News International
By Mariana Baabar

Islamabad: One of the most controversial member of the European Parliament, Baroness Emma Nicholsan, has received suggestions from a Dutch NGO represented by Marjan Lucas, IKV Pax Christi, as well as from Hans Gaasbeek from Lawyers Without Borders and Martha Meijer from the Humanist Committee on Human Rights, to incorporate amendments in 'the draft report on Kashmir: present situation and future prospects'. The letter has also been circulated to twenty Parliamentarians. These amendments reflect concerns about the position of civil society organisations and human rights defenders in Kashmir. According to the letter made available to The News, IKV Pax Christi, LWB and HOM have a longstanding commitment towards supporting civil society organisations and human rights defenders in Kashmir. 'In doing so we support independent civil society and human rights activists and local NGOs in Kashmir, especially in Indian Jammu & Kashmir,' it said. In this context it welcome the report 'Kashmir, present situation and future prospects'. 'It clearly highlights a number of our concerns with regard to the issue of human rights violations and the importance of preventing human rights violations and impunity of perpetrators, be they non-state or state actors (as e.g. militants and army-security forces respectively). 'However we feel an important issue is missing from the draft report. This is the issue of limited public space of civil society organisations and human rights defenders to function. This issue is not sufficiently addressed despite the EU's own commitment towards human rights defenders, as made explicit in the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, adopted in 2004', Emma has been informed. The amendment suggested is: In line with the great tradition of the European Parliament in upholding human rights and in particular the rights of human rights defenders, as expressed in numerous resolutions and the annual Sakharov Prize. And in line with the 'EU-guidelines for Human Rights Defenders' adopted in 2004, by the European Council, IKV Pax Christi, LWB and HOM propose the following amendments for you to submit: Amendment in relation to the preamble of the report: Having regard to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, adopted in 2004, by the European Council, as well as the 'UN-Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom' (the so- called Havana Principles) Proposed amendments in relation to paragraph 21 or new paragraph 22 deplores the violations of rights of civil society organisations and, in particular, human rights defenders, in Kashmir; calls upon all parties to respect all rights of civil society organisations and human rights defenders to fulfil their role in Kashmiri society. These include, but are not limited to: the right to freely associate, the right to assembly, the right to move freely, the right to speak freely, the right to physical integrity, the right to life, and all other rights as guaranteed in international human rights conventions; calls upon all parties to respect the rights of human rights defenders, in accordance with the 'UN-Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom' (the so-called Havana Principles); calls upon all EU missions to implement and promote the EU guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, adopted in 2004. present situation and future prospects'. The letter has also been circulated to twenty Parliamentarians. These amendments reflect concerns about the position of civil society organisations and human rights defenders in Kashmir. According to the letter made available to The News, IKV Pax Christi, LWB and HOM have a longstanding commitment towards supporting civil society organisations and human rights defenders in Kashmir. 'In doing so we support independent civil society and human rights activists and local NGOs in Kashmir, especially in Indian Jammu & Kashmir,' it said. In this context it welcome the report 'Kashmir, present situation and future prospects'. 'It clearly highlights a number of our concerns with regard to the issue of human rights violations and the importance of preventing human rights violations and impunity of perpetrators, be they non-state or state actors (as e.g. militants and army-security forces respectively). 'However we feel an important issue is missing from the draft report. This is the issue of limited public space of civil society organisations and human rights defenders to function. This issue is not sufficiently addressed despite the EU's own commitment towards human rights defenders, as made explicit in the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, adopted in 2004', Emma has been informed. The amendment suggested is In line with the great tradition of the European Parliament in upholding human rights and in particular the rights of human rights defenders, as expressed in numerous resolutions and the annual Sakharov Prize. And in line with the 'EU-guidelines for Human Rights Defenders' adopted in 2004, by the European Council, IKV Pax Christi, LWB and HOM propose the following amendments for you to submit Amendment in relation to the preamble of the report Having regard to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, adopted in 2004, by the European Council, as well as the 'UN-Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom' (the so- called Havana Principles) Proposed amendments in relation to paragraph 21 or new paragraph 22 deplores the violations of rights of civil society organisations and, in particular, human rights defenders, in Kashmir; calls upon all parties to respect all rights of civil society organisations and human rights defenders to fulfil their role in Kashmiri society. These include, but are not limited to the right to freely associate, the right to assembly, the right to move freely, the right to speak freely, the right to physical integrity, the right to life, and all other rights as guaranteed in international human rights conventions; calls upon all parties to respect the rights of human rights defenders, in accordance with the 'UN-Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom' (the so-called Havana Principles); calls upon all EU missions to implement and promote the EU guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, adopted in 2004.

 

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