Take action: Canada silent as 6+ million non-indigenous people given residency rights in Indian occupied Kashmir

Picture: Liberal government

Take one minute to let Global Affairs Minister Joly know that Canada's silence on India's settler-colonialism in Kashmir is not acceptable.

Since India's domicile law was put in place in March 2020, over 6 million non-indigenous people have been given residency rights in Indian occupied Kashmir.

This blatant 21st century settler colonization project must be denounced. The indigenous population of Jammu & Kashmir is around 12 million. There is now one settler for every two indigenous Kashmiris.

August 5 will mark four years since Indian Prime Minister Modi's Hindu supremacist government commenced a new era of escalated repression targeting the Kashmiri people by arbitrarily revoking Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution, which specifically related to rights of the people of Jammu & Kashmir.

Then on March 31, 2020, while the world was focused on the early days of the covid pandemic, Modi introduced a new Domicile Law. This was a frontal attack on the rights protected by Article 35A and allowed non-locals to acquire property and settle in the state, enjoy preferential access to public employment, and enjoy preferential access to educational opportunities in local institutions. This accelerated forced demographic change and settler-colonization behind a veil of silence and lockdown. It was clear this would have grave implications for Kashmir’s future and demography.

Since Kashmir is an internationally disputed territory, the 2020 domicile law—which entails forced transfer of populations and settlement—is in contravention of international law. Such population transfer is prohibited by Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and is condemned by the United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

Under Article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, all high contracting parties, which includes Canada, are required to take action to ensure respect for the convention “in all circumstances.”

Canada has a long history regarding Kashmir. In 1948, Canada’s UN representative Andrew McNaughton, as president of the UN Security Council (UNSC) at that time, took the lead in UNSC resolution 47 which promised the people of Kashmir the plebiscite to determine their own future. The people of Kashmir wait 75 years later to realize this international promise.

Canada’s attendance in India’s G20 meeting in occupied Kashmir in May 2023 went far beyond the international community’s historic failures in Kashmir by violating its duty not to aid or assist in serious breaches of peremptory norms through direct complicity in India’s illegal occupation, annexation, colonization, atrocity crimes, grave human rights violations and impunity in Kashmir. Canada with other G20 countries committed serious violations of international law despite the genocidal climate in which Kashmiris – a defenseless, marginalized and demonized group – face imminent, material risk of mass atrocities.

Canada is urged to comply with its duty to promote through joint and separate actions the realization of the democratic and human rights of the people of Kashmir critically including the right to self-determination, and to render assistance to the UN to hasten an end to India’s colonization of Kashmir.

Canada must not normalize the genocidal and settler colonial policies of India. India is an ethno-nationalist occupying power, a failed democracy, trying to white wash its crimes against the Kashmiri people. Canada ignoring Indian occupied Kashmir speaks of Canada's own systemic historic and current settler violence, and blatant disregard for international law and human rights.

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