The Rt Hon Sir Keir Starmer QC MP
The Leader of the Opposition
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
Monday, 4 May 2020
I actively supported your leadership campaign. However, I'm concerned with your realigning of Labour's Kashmir policy following your recent virtual meeting with Labour Friends of India (“LFIN”) as Labour Leader.
Of course we must rebuild trust with our communities, Labour voters and the general electorate - I know we can do this and win the next UK general election under your leadership. I agree we shouldn't use the "subcontinent" vis à vis the Jammu & Kashmir ("Kashmir") dispute to divide our communities here in the UK.
Nevertheless, as part of the rebuilding trust strategy we shouldn't err on the side of caution and not challenge human rights abuses (be it at home or abroad) on the premise that by doing so we may cause discomfort to one of our UK communities or a state that is a major UK trading partner.
Our role is to unite our communities by standing up for human rights. Moreover, the principles of social justice, rule of law and protecting human rights are firmly embedded within our country's DNA and are fundamental principles of our internationally-focussed party.
Human rights abuses by their very nature have extraterritorial impact, and thus cannot be categorised as bilateral disputes between two states nor the internal constitutional problem of one state. We've an obligation to hold accountable those states which deny the basic rights of life and dignity to their own citizens. Ergo, Kashmir is an international issue.
The OHCHR, Amnesty International and world media continue to report shocking levels of human rights abuses against Kashmiri women and children. Why are you not pushing our UK Government to lead an urgent collective international response to end this abuse, restore a free press plus the fundamental human rights currently denied to the Kashmiri people?
The international community has yet to honour UNSC resolutions advocating fundamental rights of the Kashmiri people to determine their own future. Only a Labour Government with you as Prime Minister can ensure this happens.
Keir, your leadership gave hope to the many hundreds of thousands of loyal Labour Kashmiri members and voters up and down the country who now feel let down by your change of direction - we must not alienate them.
I urge you to reach out and directly engage with our Kashmiri community.
Please can you clarify your position?
Cllr Javeria Hussain Jangial Rajput
Deputy Portfolio, Finance
South Ward, Luton
(Labour MEP Candidate, 2019)