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Lifting of Kashmir curfew welcome, but won't solve problem, says MEP

September 4, 2008 4:26 PM

LibDem MEP Liz Lynne has welcomed the lifting of the Indian authorities' curfew in Kashmir, but said it won't solve the long-term problems of the troubled region.

The nine-day curfew was imposed to quell some of the largest rallies since the 1989 revolt against Indian rule. At least 35 protestors have been killed in this latest unrest, including Sheikh Abdul Aziz, a senior Hurriyat leader.

Liz Lynne MEP is a member of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with the Countries of South Asia and the Human Rights Subcommittee. She has campaigned for many years on the rights of the Kashmiri people and co-authored a recent European Parliamentary resolution on the need to investigate allegations of mass graves near the Line of Control.

Speaking today she said:

"The lifting of the curfew is of course positive, as are the calls for calm from the Kashmiri separatist groups at the start of Ramadan. But with more protests planned and dozens dead, it could be some time before things return to a degree of stability.

"It seems many of the deaths were caused by excessive force exercised by the authorities in tackling the protests, and so tragically, could have been avoided. I am particularly disappointed that Sheikh Abdul Aziz has been a casualty here. If there are to be more protests, the authorities must show restraint.

"Nevertheless, the main issues facing Kashmir are left unresolved. Kashmiris have still not been given a chance to determine their own future and are subject to rulers who are often heavy-handed and reluctant to abide by international human rights standards. Only by showing respect for human rights will the Indian authorities start to gain credibility in Kashmir, which may help pave the way towards peace in the future."

ENDS

Notes:

Text of the European Parliamentary resolution co-authored by Liz Lynne on mass graves in Kashmir: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&language=EN&reference=B6-2008-0349

Liz Lynne has for many years campaigned for a peaceful solution to the Kashmiri conflict, and the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people. This has involved speaking in Parliament and in seminars, meeting senior politicians from the region and contributing to parliamentary reports on the issue.