Friday, December 09, 2011

Foreign Affairs: Azad Kashmir, East Turkistan and Gilgit Baltistan - The Unknown Lands

SOURCE Office of Ms. Kristiina OJULAND

BRUSSELS, December 8, 2011

Hosted by Ms. Kristiina Ojuland and J├╝rgen Creutzmann, Members of the European Parliament, with the support of the Friends of Gilgit Baltistan in the European Parliament and the SADF, the European Parliament debated the situation of Azad Kashmir, East Turkistan and Gilgit Baltistan on Wednesday Morning.

"Human rights are universal and inviolable and therefore must be secured to the inhabitants of disputed areas," Kristiina Ojuland said. "The right of self-determination of the people of Azad Kashmir, East Turkistan and Gilgit-Baltistan may neither be ignored by the EU nor the regional major powers."

Writer and human rights defender Roy Strider pointed out that Gilgit-Baltistan is being denied even the status of an official province of Pakistan. According to European principles the power games of great countries may not overrun the principles of human rights and self-determination," Roy Strider noted. "The solution would be a referendum on the independence. People must have the possibility to take decisions on their future as well as on the use of mineral and natural resources of their homeland."

The list of speakers also included Paulo Casaca, Executive Director of South Asia Democratic Forum and former Member of the European Parliament; Mehmet Tohti, Special Representative of World Uyghur Congress to the EU; and Mumtaz Khan, Executive Director of the International Centre for Peace and Democracy.