Brussels, March 09, 2018 (PPI-OT): Speakers of an international conference at the European Parliament in Brussels called for end to miseries of women in occupied Kashmir. The conference, “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A woman’s battle in conflict zones” was organized by the Kashmir Council European Union (KCEU) with support of MEPs Wajid Khan, Julie Ward and Dr Sajjad Karim.

Senior academics, members of civil society, representatives of European institutions and NGOs were speakers of the conference. It was part of an awareness campaign of KCEU for rememorizing the 27-year-old tragic incident of Kunanposhpora in occupied Kashmir.

The chief organizer of the conference, Ali Raza Syed, welcomed the participants and explained aims of the event. Member European Parliament (MEP) Wajid Khan talked what European Union is doing about issues related to PTSD and what should they do on it. The MEP Sajjad Karim also spoke on the issue.

The MEP Julie Ward described empowering women and promoting gender equality. A researcher from Pakistan Nighat Iftikhar highlighted PTSD among women in Kashmir. There was also video screening of recorded interviews of Natasha Rather and Isaar Batool, the authors of “Do you remember Kunanposhpora?”, the 27-year-old story of a mass rape in occupied Kashmir. Both of authors called upon the EU to use its good offices for punishment of the criminal involved in the Kunanposhpora incident.

A visual report of Amnesty International on brutal use of pellet guns in Kashmir was also presented in the conference. Member of Brussels Parliament Dr Zahoor Manzoor also talked about rape of women in a war zone with reference of Kunanposhpora case.

Former member of Brussels Parliament, Danielle Caron, addressed on effects of mental health and family relationships and the topic of a human rights activist Jasmin Ibrahim was conflict exposure and PTSD among young adult students in Kashmir. Issue of pellet guns and PTSD was raised during the conference. Dr Saddiq Kiani, the Chairman of Free Kashmir Organization, Berlin, also addressed the event. Marjan Lucas, the researcher on global conflicts raised the role of the local community in providing support to female members who suffer from PTSD.

An extensive debate was held where participants gave their comments on different aspects of issues raised in conference. Future strategy in the context of such issues was also discussed in detail. Closing remarks was given by Sadia Mir, the chair the final session.

The KCEU pledged that it would pursue the Kashmiris’ human right issues at European Union level in light of the reports complied by organizations of Khurram Parvez, the Chairperson of Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and Programme Coordinator of Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). It was emphasized that prominent victims of human rights violations especially victims of Kunanposhpora should be invited by the EU to expose facts about situation in occupied Kashmir.

The conference explored the need for mental health counselling and therapy for women suffering from PTSD as a result of trauma (such as rape, abuse, etc.). Mental health disorders and psychosocial problems arising from conflict need to be addressed as part of post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation efforts, the statement said.

The speakers called upon the international community to put pressure on India to strictly punish its security personnel involved in human rights violations especially culprits of 27-year-old mass-rape incident of Kunanposhpora in occupied Kashmir. Ali Raza Syed said, beside this terrible episode, there are thousands of women in Kashmir who are waiting for their husbands, fathers, sons and brothers forcibly disappeared by the Indian forces.

Kashmiri women have been the worst victims of human rights violations by Indian troops in the territory for last 70 years as a large number of Kashmiri women lost their men. Kashmiri women remembered their hardships because their life has been directly affected by the Indian state terrorism.

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