The UN Must Take the Lead in Kashmir
The world's forgotten conflict needs the international community's attention now more than ever. The long-suffering people of Kashmir deserve a ceasefire, reconciliation, and stability – and it is the duty of the UN to advance this goal by appointing a special envoy to the region.
OSLO – After more than 70 years of terror, killings, torture, and disappearances, the international community must renew its efforts to end the conflict in Kashmir. In 2018 and 2019, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released reports that documented a wide range of abuses – including kidnappings, the killing of civilians, and sexual violence – perpetrated by both sides in the conflict.
The UN needs to take the lead in stopping Kashmir’s torment. Obviously, the UN cannot impose a solution on India and Pakistan. But it can and should appoint a special envoy to help broker a political solution and deliver lasting peace to the region.
The conflict – largely forgotten by the world – has raged since the partition of India in 1947, when the maharaja abandoned the goal of Kashmiri independence and joined India in exchange for its help fighting an invasion of tribesmen from Pakistan. As a result, Kashmir has since been divided between India-controlled and Pakistan-controlled parts. In the ensuing decades, India and Pakistan have fought two wars and engaged in countless skirmishes over Kashmir, with China also involved at times. The situation has deteriorated since armed groups began a bombing campaign in the Indian-controlled Kashmir Valley in 1988, marking the beginning of an armed struggle for self-determination that still rages today.