JKCCS appeals militants, forces to adhere to Int’l Humanitarian Law

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Srinagar, May 19: The Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) Friday appealed both militants and armed forces to adhere to the principles of International Humanitarian Law during their combat operations in J&K.
In a statement on Friday, JKCCS said that since last many years they have “tried to impress upon the government of India, Pakistan and the Kashmiri armed insurgent groups to adhere to the principles of the International Humanitarian Law during their combat operations in Jammu and Kashmir”.
“In the recent few months there have been huge number of extrajudicial killings by the Indian armed forces and an indiscriminate use of force against the civilians. Also the Indian state has resorted to tactics of collective punishment on the civilian population for providing support to the armed insurgents. Cordon and search operations, widespread torture and beatings to the civilians, using civilians as human shields, preventing the ambulances to ferry the injured to the hospitals, ransacking and vandalization of civilian properties, attacks on college premises, banning of internet etc are some of the allegations against the Indian armed forces and Jammu and Kashmir Police,” read the statement.
“On the other hand, armed insurgents have been accused of killing workers of the political parties, attacks on banks, throwing of grenades and attacking the armed forces at the public places, ransacking of the houses of police personnel and threatening their family members and killing of a soldier on leave after abduction; also there have been news reports about the beheading of the two Indian army personnel in Poonch district by Pakistani army deployed along the Ceasefire Line (defacto border) and the killings of civilians due to border skirmishes between Indian and Pakistani army,” it added
JKCCS said that it would like to reiterate its demand for insurgent groups and Indian armed forces involved in the Jammu and Kashmir armed conflict, which according to our understanding is an international armed conflict, and all the parties involved in the hostilities must always abide by principles of the International Humanitarian Law.
“We call upon all the combatants whether state or non-state and their political leadership to abide by the following minimum and basic principles derived from International Humanitarian Law and other universally accepted principles.”
1. During operations combatants must not target civilian objects, civilians and those not directly participating in armed hostilities.
2. During military operations, constant care must be taken to spare civilian population, civilians and civilian objects.
3. In order to avoid civilian casualties, military installations in and around population centers must not be created. Attacks against such military objectives which are expected to cause disproportionate civilian casualties and damage must not be launched.
4. During and after the combat operations wounded and sick must be collected and cared for.
5. Civilians must not be taken hostage for any reason or/and in any circumstances.
6. During operations when enemy fighters are taken prisoners, they must be treated humanely; they must not be tortured, killed or disappeared in custody.
7. The dead must be respected and their bodies not mutilated. When mortal remains are unidentified, every effort must be made to preserve evidence that could lead to their eventual identification. Graves should be marked. Where the identity of a dead person is known (whether friend or enemy), next of the kin should be promptly informed.
8. Family members of those involved in direct hostilities (insurgents, police and armed forces personnel) must be exactly treated like civilians and not arrested/abducted, threatened, assaulted or discriminated against.
9. Ambulances, medical personnel and firefighting personnel who take no active part in hostilities must not be attacked, nor obstructed from performing their humanitarian duties.
10. Places of worship and those taking refuge in them must not be attacked in any circumstances.
11. Minorities, women, children, older people and disabled should always be respected and no attempts should be made to infringe upon their rights, dignity and safety.
12. Vehicles and buildings bearing emblems of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent should be respected. These emblems must not be used to deceive enemy during hostilities.

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