Kashmiri women from both sides of Line of Control (LoC) have established a joint forum for promoting peace in the region.
The two-day Intra-Kashmir Women's conference which concluded in famous tourist resort in Gulmarg sought an end to protracted conflict in Jammu and Kashmir region and also decided to set up a joint forum for peace comprising women from all three units of Jammu and Kashmir, including Pakistani AJK and Gilgit Baltistan(GB)
At the end of Intra-Kashmir Conference a statement was issued which said that the women of entire Jammu and Kashmir, from both sides of the Line of Control(LoC) desire peace, security, and economic stability to prevail throughout the region and an immediate end to the protracted conflict.
“We demand the inclusion of women in all peace-building and peace negotiations and dialogue on Kashmir,” it said.
Over fifty five women from all parts of Jammu and Kashmir, including Pakistani Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan attend the Intra-Kashmir Conference which was organized by Delhi based The Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation (CDR) in collaboration with Women for Peace.
Mrs.Tanveer Latif , the chief pattern of Press For Peace(PFP) represented the women of Azad Kashmir.
The participants of Intra-Kashmir Women Conference said that the resolution of the Kashmir issue must reflect the aspirations of all regions and communities of all parts of undivided Jammu and Kashmir, including Gilgit Baltistan.
They urged India and Pakistan to simplify procedures in trade, communication and travel across the LoC and open other trade and travel routes, like Kargil-Skardu, Chamb-Bhimbar, and Leh-Khaplu; respect the ceasefire with immediate halt to violations and address land mine issues; immediately release stray crossers; initiate phased de-militarisation in all civilian areas, and repeal ‘draconian' Acts such as the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) and the Public Safety Act (PSA).
The Conference said that the human rights abuses and violations of all kinds – arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, sexual violence, crackdowns, searches, displacement of all kinds, rehabilitation of displaced communities without segregation – by all sides should be ended.
They also demanded 33 per cent quota for women in the Assemblies, Councils, and local bodies on both sides of the LoC; adequate women's representation in departments dealing with gender issues; representation of women in and the strengthening of autonomous and independent State institutions to monitor and report gender-based issues, such as the State Commission for Women, State Human Rights Commission, Information Commission, and the establishment of similar Commissions in other regions.
They wanted establishment of legal aid committees and village helpline by the State to immediately address issues of half-widows and sexual assault; State compensations to be brought under civil law; initiation of immediate people-friendly police reforms and gender sensitisation of all the law enforcement agencies; greater access to education; and student and faculty exchange programme across the LoC.
They also demanded implementation of gender budgeting and allocation of resources across sectors; increase in women's access to micro-financing schemes; imparting of vocational and skills training for women and provision of marketing facilities for small entrepreneurs; effective implementation of wage policy for women; and attention to women's health issues, especially maternal and infant mortality and mental health.
The participants of the conference also resolved to establish a network through Internet and other means for inter-regional, inter-community, cross-Line of Control (LoC) coordination of women's groups and individuals for peace building; and form a joint forum of women's organisations working for peace from both sides of the LoC for inclusion in all peace negotiations and discussions.