Political activists from Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) have raised concerns over the worsening human rights situation in the region. The issue was brought up during the 43rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Friday, March 6.
Senge H Sering, President of Gilgit-Baltistan Studies, claimed in the Council that the people of PoK continue to face torture and the locals are losing the battle. He also added that the "China-led genocide" is enabling the fast depletion of flora and fauna with impending environmental catastrophe.
"The people of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir continue to face torture, sedition and terrorism charges and life-imprisonment for opposing onslaught on their resources and cultural identity. Locals are losing the battle against the worst demographic engineering due to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor that encourages illegal settlements of Pakistanis and Chinese," Senge told the Council during his intervention.
He added, "China-led genocide is enabling fast depletion of flora and fauna with impending environmental catastrophe. Further, a permanent resource-use ban on locals is enabling Chinese companies to enjoy an advantage to exploit indigenous mineral wealth," he added.
Further in his intervention, Senge said that people of Gilgit Baltistan, who are constitutional citizens of India as part of the Union Territory of Ladakh are under constant threat of terrorism perpetrated by the Pakistani military. He further urged India to resume constitutional responsibility and acquire control over Gilgit Baltistan.
He said, "Locals trying to protect natural resources in a peaceful manner are threatened with abductions, genocide and economic blockade as happened recently when pro-Taliban Pakistani citizens called for the massacre of Shias and Ismailies of Gilgit Baltistan travelling through their districts".
"Seventy years ago, United Nations Security Council asked India to station troops in Jammu Kashmir to protect life, honour, and assets of locals. Today, as a native of Gilgit Baltistan and Jammu Kashmir, I request India to resume constitutional responsibility and acquire control over Gilgit Baltistan to save us from the brutal colonial reign of Pakistan", Senge told the Human Rights Council.
Muhammad Sajjad Raja, President of Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party (UK) told the Council that his NGO is concerned with the fact that the people of Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan experience gross violation of their basic human rights as guaranteed by article 20 of the Declaration of Human Rights and as reinforced by Article 21 of ICCPR.
He said, "In Pakistani occupied areas people continue being subjected to arbitrary arrests, illegal detentions and enforced disappearances by authorities".