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Human Rights Declarations in Asia-Pacific Category


Karachi Declaration

6th Joint Convention of the Pakistan India People's Forum
for Peace and Democracy
December 2003 , Karachi, Pakistan

We the delegates to the 6th Joint Convention of the Pakistan India People's Forum for Peace and Democracy, are convinced that the people of the world in general and South Asia in particular, face new forms of imperialistic globalisation that is today

i) increasingly aided and abetted by local interests and constituencies,
ii) imposes an iniquitous system on the developing countries,
iii) destroys the livelihood of common people
iv) undermines the political and economic independence of countries
v) directs violence against societies with different political and social ideals, particularly Muslim people, and
vi) terrorises entire countries in the name of fighting terrorism.

The Convention solemnly declares

"That the future of the people of Pakistan and India as independent countries is contingent upon permanent peace and harmony in order to fight the imperialist machination of subjugating and exploitation of the resources and the people of our countries. The Forum welcomes the recent confidence building measures announced by the two governments and demands their immediate implementation in full.

"To build resistance against the IMF, World Bank and WTO, as well as the agents of imperialist globalisation, build strong trade and economic cooperation between the two countries and in entire South Asia to foster independent development.

Reiterates its call for global nuclear disarmament, and an immediate de-alert and then destruction of all nuclear weapons by the two countries, a 25 % reduction in conventional forces, and the immediate removal and an end to the use of landmines.

Settle the Kashmir dispute respecting the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of LoC, withdrawal of armed forces and armed groups on both sides, establish an effective and accountable mechanism to ensure protection of life and liberty of the people of J&K, particularly women.

Believes that the persistence of majoritarian politics and increasing communalisation of the polity pitting one disadvantaged section against the other deprives the people of their right to self-realisation.

We stress that without adequate protection of religious, linguistic, cultural and political minorities there can be no democracy.

There can be no justice without granting redress to the victims of human rights abuses especially with the connivance of the state, particularly women and children, as in Gujarat.

All those who were forced in the past to leave their homes and migrate to other countries or to other parts of their country, must be given the opportunity to return to their original settlements.

All regimes and laws that deny the human rights of the person without citizenship status, such as migrant workers and those who cross the border by mistake, must be scrapped.

India and Pakistan must sign a protocol on exchange of prisoners and respect the rights of refugees.

Non-delimitation of maritime boundaries is depriving thousands of fisher people of their livelihood. We demand immediate cessation of the harassment of fisher people and those arrested must be repatriated immediately with their boats, equipment and property.

We call upon the two governments to remove all restrictions on travel between the countries, and the institution of a regime of issuing visas on arrival.

We call upon both governments to recognize the disadvantaged position of women in our countries; to count the productivity of women and their contribution to the GDP; to ensure the provision of basic minimum needs to women, particularly health, nutrition, education and employment; and, in view of the documented feminization of poverty in both our countries, to focus on rural women in poverty reduction measures. Women must be included in all government and civil society initiatives for peace. We call upon our governments to repeal all discriminatory anti-women laws (such as the Hudood Ordinances in Pakistan), and to enact enabling legislation, especially laws on violence against women, through cross-cutting, non-partisan political processes, for women's empowerment and gender equality.

Recognise the universal right of divided families to reunion, and allow cultural exchanges and interaction between civil society organisations, particularly youth to counter the atmosphere of hate and distrust, remove restrictions on exchange of literature, books, films, music, dance, sports and other art forms.

In order to ensure systematic and concerted pursuit of the objectives of the Forum the convention decides to appoint Three Joint Committees, Kashmir Committee, Peace and Reconciliation Committee and Minorities Committee;

a) The Joint Committee on Kashmir will arrange for and facilitate a dialogue between the people on both sides of the LOC and interact with all organisations involved in the efforts to achieve peace and democratic resolution of the Kashmir issue and ensure 50 % participation for women.

b) The Joint Committee on Peace will prepare an immediate and short term plan for confidence building and normalcy in the region and a long term strategy for establishing a just and durable peace in the subcontinent. For this purpose the committee will visit different parts of India and Pakistan, hold extended discussions with various sections of the society, including political parties, business community, women's groups, farmers and workers organisations and other people 's movements.

c) The Joint Committee on Minorities will deal with the issue relating to the issue of protection of minorities and their rights in the two countries

South Asia Citizens Web
URL: www.sacw.net/PIF/karachiDecl122003.html


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