European Parliament To Debate Kashmir ‘mass Graves’

9 July 2008

Brussels: The European Parliament during its plenary session in Strasbourg, France, Thursday will debate and vote on a resolution on the “allegation of mass graves in Indian Kashmir”. The request for inclusion in the agenda for the debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law was made by four MPs - Elizabeth Lynne (Britain), Marios Matsakis (Cyprus), Sarah Ludford (Britain) and Frédérique Ries (Belgium) - on behalf of the ALDE (Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe), the EuAsiaNews said Wednesday. The Socialist group in the EP Monday made a request to have the topic removed from the agenda but it was rejected by the house with 123 votes to 72. ALDE currently comprises 100 EU MPs out of a total of 785 and is the third-largest group in the EP. It is led by Graham Watson, a British Liberal Democrat. The Socialist group with 216 MPs is the second-largest. The EPP-ED Group - the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats - with 288 MPs is the biggest. The draft resolution says that “hundreds of unidentified graves have been discovered since 2006 in Jammu and Kashmir”. Alleging that “human rights violations committed by the armed forces of India continue in an atmosphere of impunity”, the draft text calls on the Indian government “to urgently ensure independent and impartial investigations into all suspected sites of mass graves in Jammu and Kashmir and as an immediate first step to secure the grave sites in order to preserve the evidence”. It calls on the European Commission to offer financial and technical assistance to the Indian government “for such a thorough inquiry and possible further measures of conflict resolution in Kashmir”. The resolution urges India to ratify and implement the UN Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance without reservations, and to grant access to Jammu and Kashmir for the UN Special Rapporteurs under the terms of reference of the UN Special Procedure.