Association of Humanitarian Lawyers

AHL has addressed the situation in Kashmir since 1990 when renewed clashing between the Indian military forces and Kashmiri people broke out in Indian-occupied Kashmir. The problem arises because at the time of the withdrawal of the British colonial power and then the partition creating the separate States of India and Pakistan, the status of Kashmir was undecided. The Free Kashmir forces were resisted by the Indian military, and Pakistan was drawn into the conflict. The United Nations stepped in to the conflict, forming the United Nations Commission on India and Pakistan, and passing resolutions that state that the disposition of Kashmir would only be made by the Kashmiri people themselves, expressed in a United Nations administered plebiscite. The plebiscite has yet to be held, and the United Nations Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan, formed by the Security Council in 1949, still controls the “line of control” (LOC) between Indian-occupied Kashmir and Pakistan -occupied Kashmir. India and Pakistan have had two major wars since and a number of cross-LOC skirmishes. Meanwhile, due to increased resistance of Kashmiris in Indian-occupied Kashmir, India has severely cracked down, bringing in as many as 700,000 military troops. More than 60,000 Kashmiris have been killed, including some who worked closely with AHL. AHL has sent investigators to Indian-occupied Kashmir four times to report on the situation. We have written reports and articles on this situation, and our legal opinion on the status of the Kashmiri war and the participants has lead to important victories in refugee courts in the US and UK. We continue to work in this issue with members of the US Congress to seek a peaceful resolution to this protracted situation and to bring about respect for human rights and humanitarian law.

Additional Reference Material

Kashmir: Self-determination

Statement of Karen Parker
International Kashmir Peace Conference
Rayburn House Office Building
24 September 2004