April 15, 2011
UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict
cc.UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon (by mail)
Dr. Navanetham Pillay, UN High Commissioner on Human Rights
Ms. Rashida Manjoo, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against women, its causes and consequences.
Dear Ms. Wallstrom,
We are writing to you with grave concern regarding your remarks on Kashmir as reported in sections of the Indian press. According to a report published in the Calcutta News (http://www.calcuttanews.net/story/765726/ht/No-reports-of-sexual-violence-by-Indian-troops-in-Kashmir-UN), you are quoted as having said that “’So far, we do not have proper reports about this….so far, we have not received any proper reporting on such cases….I can’t say that there was anything in particular (about Kashmir).”
Contrary to your reported words, human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch, Physicians for Human Rights, Amnesty International and Medecins sans Frontieres have consistently recorded the use of rape and sexual violence against Kashmiri women by Indian forces as a deliberate strategy in counterinsurgency since 1989.
If your statements are reported correctly, they display a shocking lack of knowledge of the facts. Further, your willingness to make public statements on the matter despite the lack of knowledge discredits your office and the United Nations. Your reported remarks provide political cover and support to the Indian government which has engaged in a military reign of terror against the civilian population of Kashmir since 1989.
Given the gravity of the situation, we sincerely call upon you to clarify and correct your remarks. We urgently ask you to acquaint yourself with the full range and scope of sexual violence and torture by Indian forces against Kashmiri women and men, and to take concrete steps to support the victims and bring the perpetrators to justice. We are providing as evidence links to online copies of some of human rights reports.
Kashmir Solidarity Network seeks to generate wider public interest in Kashmir, and help develop an educated and informed solidarity for the people of Kashmir across the world.
We look forward to your response.
Kashmir Solidarity Network
Amnesty International 1991 India: Rape and Ill-treatment of Women in Kashmir: Zarifa Bano, Bakhti, and many others (the Kunan-Poshpura incident)
Amnesty International 1993 India: Reports of Rape in 1993
Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Human Rights 1993 Rape in Kashmir. A Crime of War
Human Rights Watch 1996 India’s Secret Army in Kashmir. New Patterns of Abuse Emerge in the Conflict
Human Rights Watch 1999 Behind the Kashmir Conflict. Abuses by Indian security forces and militant groups continue
Medecins sans Frontiers 2006 Kashmir:Violence and Health
United Nations Human Rights Commission 2003 Integration of the Human Rights of Women and the Gender Perspective:Violence Against Women
United Nations High Commission on Human Rights, Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its causes and consequences 200-2004 Annual Report. Communications to and from governments
Report of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggya 2011