Protest, photo exhibition as Kashmir dominates UN agenda

Geneva, March 13, 2019 (PPI-OT): Kashmiris dominated United Nations activities for a whole day, as they descended on Geneva for a protest and a photo exhibition at Swiss Press Club and a seminar on the sidelines of a Human Rights Council session.

A protest in front of Palais de Nations was a highlight of the day as nearly 300 Kashmiris from across Europe held a peaceful demonstration, condemning human rights abuses by Indian government and its army in occupied Kashmir and asked the UN member states to support a referendum in Jammu and Kashmir. The protest was led by Kashmiri leader, Altaf Hussain Wani.

Across the city, at the Swiss Press Club, the Kashmir delegation to United Nations Geneva organized a photo exhibition, presenting a pictorial documentation of rights abuses in occupied Kashmir to the international community.

This exhibition followed a unique methodology. It relied on photojournalists on the ground in occupied Kashmir who have published their work in international media. Each picture is “dated, verified, captioned” offering a real-time documentation of Indian abuses, said Ahmed Quraishi, Executive Director of Youth Forum for Kashmir (YFK), International Kashmir Lobby Group, one of the organizers.

“This way Government of India can’t claim we’re using pictures from other conflicts,” said Altaf Hussain Wani, head of the Kashmir delegation to UN. Chaudhry Pervez Ashraf, former senior minister in Azad Kashmir government, was the chief guest.

In the evening, World Muslim Congress (WMC) organized a seminar at the UN Building on UN’s first-ever report on Kashmir. International human rights activists spoke at the event. Speakers included Jennifer McKay, a researcher on India’s human rights record, Sardar Amjad Yousaf Khan, Executive Director of Kashmir Institute of International Relations (KIIR), Altaf Hussain Wani and Hassan Al-Bana, Kashmiri human rights defenders from the Indian occupied region, and Hassan Ashraf, a young Kashmiri activist based in London. The Kashmiri Delegation, representing rights defenders from Azad Kashmir and Indian occupied Kashmir, is participating in the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.

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