The international community is finally taking notice of the deteriorating situation in IIOJK as 14 members of the EU have sought a greater role of the European Commission to actively encourage India and Pakistan to move towards the normalisation of diplomatic relations and the resumption of formal bilateral talks. However, as a prerequisite, it is important that the human rights violations against the Kashmiri people are brought to a halt and serious discussions are held to resolve this longstanding dispute.

As per reports, through a letter addressed to Ursula Von Der Leyen, President of the European Commission, the 14 members expressed their serious concern over the grave and systematic human rights violations taking place and urged the commission to take notice of this untenable situation. The authors of the letter did not mince their words as they pointed out that since August 5, 2019, India has abandoned any political approach to the insurgency in Kashmir and is managing the crisis with almost exclusively military means.

Amnesty International’s 2021 reported documents how Indian authorities have arrested many human rights defenders including journalists and activists under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, India’s primary counter-terrorism law. At least 36 journalists have faced interrogation, raids, threats, or physical assault for their reporting until now. Moreover, people in IIOJK faced at least 85 internet shutdowns in 2021—one of the highest in the world.

At the same time, the letter also pointed out that there have been some positive developments from the perspective of bilateral relations between the two neighbours. Mainly the establishment of a backchannel and recommitment to a ceasefire. The commission members are right in pointing out that dialogue, negotiation and diplomacy are important to resolve the Kashmir dispute and that the EU along with member states can play a crucial role in addressing this deadlock.

It is encouraging to see how this letter essentially vindicates Pakistan’s stance on the issue. Since the illegal actions of the Indian government on August 5, Islamabad put in a concerted effort to appeal to the conscience and principles of the international system. Finally, some relevant actors in the international community are waking up to the reality on the ground and are placing the onus on India to halt its oppression in IIOJK and come to the table in an earnest manner to resolve the dispute.