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Kashmir: Washington Declaration

9th International Kashmir Peace Conference (31st July - 1st August 2008)

Washington, D.C. August 02, 2008

The two -day 9th International Kashmir Peace Conference, organized by the Kashmiri American Council, Kashmir Centre, Washington DC, and co-hosted by the Association of Humanitarian Lawyers:

1.  Resolves that the people of Jammu and Kashmir are central to the India-Pakistan peace process and representative dialogue and affirms that a sustainable and just solution of the Kashmir dispute can be achieved only through democratically established procedures for ascertaining the will of the people of the state  (as existing on 14/15 August 1947).

9th International Kashmir Peace Conference in Washington D.C. (31st July - 1st August 2008)
photo: Kashmiri American Council

2. Resolves that, in the context of the Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh's pledge for zero tolerance of human rights abuses, an independent and credible investigative commission should be set up to probe human rights abuses including the issue of mass graves recently discovered in the state.

3. Resolves that the pace of India-Pakistan dialogue, particularly in relation to Jammu and Kashmir should be accelerated and given a realistic time frame. The dialogue should be inclusive and Kashmiris should be an integral part of this process.

4. Resolves that more Kashmir specific confidence buildings measures should be adopted, which will help in conquering fear and creating a congenial environment for a positive forward movement.

5. Resolves that all political prisoners languishing in jails, interrogation centres and detained under emergency laws should be immediately released.

6. Resolves that all draconian laws should be withdrawn and peoples' fundamental freedoms and basic rights should be restored.

7. Resolves that all those elements who have tried to vitiate and communalize the state's polity need to be identified and punished. While welcoming the withdrawal of the order to transfer land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, the conference condemns all efforts to communalize the situation.

8. Resolves that all internally and externally displaced people of Jammu and Kashmir, including Kashmiri Pandits, should be facilitated to return to their homes in safety and dignity.

* The Declaration was adopted unanimously

* The members of the draft committee included:

1.         Justice Rajinder Sachar, Former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court
2.         Ms. Farzana Raja, Member, Pakistan National Assembly
3.         Mr. Ved Bhasin, Chairman, Kashmir Times Group, Jammu
4.         Mr. Jatinder Bakshi, President, J&K Forum for Peace and Reconciliation, Jammu
5.         Ms. Victoria Schofield, Author, Writer, England
6.         Dr. Ghulam N Mir, President, World Kashmir freedom Movement
7.         Prof. Nazir A. Shawl, Executive Director, Justice Foundation/Kashmir Center, London
8.         Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director, Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center, Host.

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