Public International law is a very broad and comprehensive domain that requires extensive study and understanding. It is responsible for looking into areas that might somehow surprise you in their relevance to your daily lives. This article will focus on an area that is considered to be amongst the most important and significant areas of International Law—Human Rights Law.
Human Rights have gradually gained massive importance in the international arena, and we nowadays hear a lot about their violations in Kashmir, Syria, Palestine, and Yemen, etc. A number of scholars have written on this regime of international law and we can read a lot on this specific issue in the newspaper or watch on electronic media. Therefore, this is one topic of International Law on which most people think that they can easily comment on.
Background of Human Rights
The background of these human rights is also quite important to understand. They are considered to be as old as perhaps human history is and their recognition also extends back centuries. These are the rights that have been given to men and women alike. These are the rights that are recognized to be inherent and integral with human beings about which there can not be any dispute or question to whether they are legit or not. Their clarity and preciseness provide them with that edge.
For instance, these rights include the right to life, meaning that when you come into this world you automatically assume the right to live in this world. However, this right further establishes another right called the security of that right to life. In case someone denies you that right, you have an entire procedural set of rights to ensure its safety.
In the times of antiquity, some rights would have been recognized but in the contemporary era, there is an extensive list of human rights that are recognized and implemented in the world. These human rights are not the creation of treaties or conventions, like the other such treaty-sourced laws. They are present since time immemorial and they have just been recognized by these treaties and conventions that are now up for the purpose of discussion.
Some of the key fundamental human rights include:
- Right to life
- Right to shelter
- Right of thought
- Right of free speech
- Right to marry and have a family.
Similarly, these rights keep on increasing as the community starts to progress.
International Codification of Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
The primary treaty that codifies human rights in International Law is the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” that was adopted by a large majority of states in the year 1948. This declaration is not basically a treaty but a resolution passed by the UN General Assembly in the middle of the 20th century. This resolution was adopted without voting as all the states considered it a unanimous decision. Therefore, the character of this resolution is not binding in the sense that it is not signed or ratified like the other treaties that are signed and ratified. However, this is still an ultimate aim or point of reference with which the human rights violations are measured accordingly.
Absence Of War Is Not Peace
When the League of Nations was established, it had the goal of deterring and making sure that war does not happen. Hence, it was assumed that the absence of war was peace. But when World War 2 happened, and this mantra was proved wrong. After the creation of the United Nations, special attention was paid on ensuring peace through the implementation of human rights and other war preventive measures. So, to ensure peace, social justice had also become an objective of the United Nations.
The UN Charter
The Preamble of the UN Charter clearly depicts this motive of the United Nations and states that it is built in order to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. It also mentions the atrocities that were caused due to the prior two world wars that brought mammoth destruction to the world. Then it enlists the motive that it wants to reaffirm the faith in the fundamental human rights, in the dignity and also the worth of the human person. Therefore, this preamble clearly mentions that without ensuring the protection of fundamental human rights, peace can never prevail in the world.
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Violation of Human Rights in IOK
In the Indian occupied Kashmir, the situation of Human Rights is exacerbating day by day. The atrocities by the Indian Armed Forces have led to massive protests in almost every part of the valley. Thousands of graves are found that are unknown by anyone. In recent years different tribble groups have organized themselves and are striving against the Indian occupation.
They either want a free Kashmir where they can live their lives with liberty and freedom without the influence of Indian armed forces or they want to merge with Pakistan. Their wish of a merger with Pakistan can be justified by the fact that the people of Kashmir who are protesting against the Indian forces have time and time again raised the Pakistani flag in their protest.
Use of Pellet Guns
In the Indian occupied Kashmir the people have been subject to very harmful weapons that have been use against them in order to kill and abuse them. The valley has seen a new kind of weapon that has been described by the Indian forces as non-lethal but in reality thousands of people have suffered immense damage and harm to their eye side and faces as a result of these pellet guns used by the security forces to disintegrate the protestors. The pellet gun can fire more than five hundred sharp lead pellets at high velocity. Even the doctors say that this weapon is injurious in a way that the damage done by these pellet guns is irreversible and cannot be treated back to normal. Thus even a single pellet going into the eye of a person can cause immense and irreversible damage.
Reaction Against Shelling
Then another harmful weaponry used is the use of shelling to contain the people of Kashmir. Indian shelling is so immense that it has forced many villagers in the valley to flee from their homes. The people are facing diseases as a result of the gases used by the Indian security forces this has caused severe damage to the health of the people for over the past several years. This is also a regular weapon used by the Indian forces for over a long period of time. So this has caused immense frustration among the masses as they want this problem to be gone for ever.as a result more and more people are coming to the streets and opposing the Indian forces in any way they can.
The Blockage of Medical Care
Over the past months, the Indian security forces have been accused by the people of Kashmir and also the rights group that they have been blocking the medical treatment for the protestors who have been wounded in the disputed region of Kashmir. They have been accused of holding up ambulances and also harassing the people or the protestors who have been hospitalized. The Indian forces used excessive force during many months of conflict and unrest to increase the chances of permanent injuries and deaths of the people who are suffering from the different harmful weapons that have been used against them.
Widney brown (from the New York headquarter advocacy group) said that,” such delays in care are violations of the long standing protections afforded to medical workers and facilities in time of conflict and civil unrest, what’s more is that we interviewed the doctors they said police were present in their hospitals, intimidating patients, and monitoring those being admitted”
There were reports that the security forces have been found in shamelessly harassing the female medical worker who were attempting to treat the wounded protestors and also they tried to stop and prevent the doctors from reaching the hospitals where they work.
Exploitation of Human Rights
Every fundamental human right that is promised to an individual in a state is being taken away from the people of Kashmir. The people have the right to choose what they want for themselves. For instance, if the people of the valley want to be liberated and are wanting to live in a separate homeland without any outside influence they should be given the right to self-determination. But to make matters even worse, other rights like the freedom of speech and expression have also been taken away from them. So the only way for the people to take their rights back is to protest and demonstrate against the brutal Indian security forces peacefully or violently.
In addition to this, people in the Kashmir valley have been facing a very strict curfew for over the past six months. They are not allowed to leave their houses. The security forces are even exploiting their sovereignty of living safely in their houses. They are not allowed to even lock their homes.
Kashmir has always been the most outstanding issue between both the countries of India and Pakistan since their independence. Several talks on this issue have been carried out between both the administrations. However, the Kashmir issue still remains something that seriously needs to be addressed by both the countries and also the international community. The international community needs to know the seriousness of this issue as it can foster threatening circumstances leading to irreparable consequences. We have to keep in mind the fact that both India and Pakistan are nuclear power countries and that they have to come to a conclusion that should be decisive in terms of solving this issue. Otherwise, there is a chance of a very high-level conflict to occur if both countries remain in a stubborn position.
The Indian authorities have to understand that they cannot hold the people for a perpetual period of time and that they have to make a decision for the betterment of the Kashmiri people. However, that decision must be made through consultation with the Kashmiri leaders as opposed to a unilateral decision such as the revocation of article 370 imposed on the people of Kashmir.
In the end, it is important that both the countries and the other parties who are in the reconciliation process should learn from the past efforts that have been made to solve the Kashmir issue. A proper plan is needed by which the people of both the countries and especially the valley can have a sigh of relief and peace from the violence that has occurred in the valley over the past 70 years.