Today marks a year since the Indian Government revoked Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, thereby stripping Kashmir of its autonomy.
At the time, I called on our own government and international community to use all diplomatic and economic measures to ensure that the rights of the Kashmiri people were respected and that Kashmir’s autonomy was restored. I also wrote to the Indian High Commissioner and met with the Pakistani High Commissioner to discuss the way forward.
Since then, I have followed developments in Indian-administered Kashmir closely. Tragically, after a year in lockdown, its people continue to suffer terribly. The Indian government has placed unjustified restraints on the rights to free speech, access to information, health care, and education. Thousands of people – including children – have been detained without charge, critics are threatened with arrest, and access to the internet is limited.
I support Debbie Abrahams, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Kashmir, in calling on both the Indian and Pakistani governments, as well as the broader international community, to work together to build a just and sustainable peace in the region.
Along with other local Labour MPs – Clive Betts, Olivia Blake, Paul Blomfield and Gill Furniss – I’ve also released the following joint statement:
“One year after the revocation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which protected the special status of Kashmir, we call on the Government to press the international community to increase efforts to end human rights abuses in Kashmir, to seek the withdrawal of draconian emergency laws imposed by the Government of India and, working with India and Pakistan, to secure a just and lasting settlement based on UN resolutions on the rights of the Kashmiri people to self-determination.”
As long as the Kashmiri people are denied their human rights, I will continue to speak up and work with others to push for justice.