The rise in structural, physical, psychological, sexual forms of violence against women of all age groups in the disputed Himalayan territory of Jammu and Kashmir was condemned by speakers at a webinar on Friday.
The webinar on ‘Combating violence against women’ was convened by the Kashmir Institute of International Relations (KIIR) in collaboration with World Muslim Congress (WMC), Community Human Rights and Advocacy Centre (CHRAC) and International Muslim Women Union (IMWU). It was organised on the sidelines of the 44th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Veteran women’s rights activist, Barrister Margaret Owen OBE elaborated the different types of violence inflicted upon women.
“This should not be looked upon as a cause for celebration but as a matter to be deplored, principally because in Kashmir more than anywhere else, the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) is killing many men, which means that there are even more widows,” she said.
“Nothing is sacred and Narender Modi’s government uses all types of violence to demoralise and stigmatise an entire community,” Owen said.
Former MEP Julie Ward, who had recently lost her mother, said that she was incredibly fortunate to be able to grieve and go through the precious bereavement process, something which was forcibly denied to Kashmiri mothers, wives, children and relatives whose near and dear ones were being killed.
International Human Rights Law and International Criminal Law expert Marina Zucca stated that New Delhi was morally and legally bound to fulfil its international obligations.
Dr Saira Shah said that the practice of stripping women naked by occupation forces was a systemic policy which negatively affects a woman’s sense of self and will.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2020.
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