YFK Holds A Public Discussion On Use Of Rape As A Tool Of Punishment In Conflict Areas

YFK–International Kashmir Lobby Group (Youth Forum For Kashmir) holds a Public Discussion, in relevance with the Mass Rape Incident of Kunan Poshpora in Indian-occupied Kashmir on 24 February 1991 and the Khojaly Massacre Incident in Azerbaijan on 26 February 1992, titled “The Use of Rape As A Tool of Punishment in Conflict Zones: Examples From Nagorno-Karabakh And Kashmir”, at YFK Main Office, Federal Capital Islamabad.

Keynote speakers included Dr. Farzana Bari-a well-known Human Rights Activist & Director Gender Studies Center-Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) Islamabad, Ms. Naseema Wani-Member Legislative Assembly-Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Ms. Sidra Humayun-Trainer & Researcher-Medico-Legal & GBV, Mr. Ahmed Quraishi-Director YFK–International Kashmir Lobby Group (Youth Forum For Kashmir), Ms. Maria Khan-YFK Lobbyist, and others.

Dr. Bari expressed that rape is a global issue and it is being used as a war strategy especially in Africa, Middle-East and Asia. We have to stop that the women bodies are becoming the battle grounds for World’s Militaries. She emphasized that the concept of honor resides only in women and that’s the sick mindset as women are not being treated as independent human beings but the property of others. She also said that the international justice is very selective and there is no international tribunal on Kunan Poshpora yet. World’s Militaries and Police should be given a special training on how to treat people in conflict zones specially women.

Ms. Wani highlighted the mass rape incident of Kunan Poshpora by the Indian-occupied military in Kashmir. The Kunan Poshspora incident occurred on February 23, 1991, when units of the Indian army launched a search and interrogation operation in the village of Kunan Poshpora, located in Kashmir’s remote Kupwara District. She said that the men were separated from women and at least 53 women, aged between 23 and 100 were gang raped by Indian soldiers that night. Human Rights organizations including Human Rights Watch (HRW) have said that the number of raped women could be as high as 150. She emphasized that the impact of rape is always immense on the whole family and society and the social stigma generated out of this incident has resulted in women of this area facing difficulties in getting married even today.

Ms. Humayun expressed that rape is a power exercise in war zones. Through the use of rape in conflict zones, countries feel pride to give shame to other countries. She said that invading human body is a most cruel thing in the world. We have to stop customary practices; there is no pride in men-being, only gender-equality can reduce the distance. She concluded her arguments by saying that, we should treat women as human rather than women.

Mr. Quraishi expressed that rape in conflict zones is never easy to discuss and there is always the chance that this serious humanitarian issue is politicized. I feel that activists and experts should first focus on offering remedies instead of blaming and shaming governments. That can come later. Focus first on the victims, their rehabilitation, and on how to stop sexual violence as a took of repression and punishment. None of this can happen without awareness, and that is what we want to achieve in today’s event; awareness is prevention.

While Ms. Khan highlighted the Khojaly massacre and rape incident by the Armenian armed forces in Azerbaijan.

Event was attended by young Kashmiri and Pakistani men and women, university students, researchers, and human rights defenders, etc.

YFK–International Kashmir Lobby Group (Youth Forum For Kashmir) is a non-partisan, international non-governmental organization, working for the peaceful resolution of Kashmir Conflict in accordance with United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions.