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In a region once called the most beautiful place on earth, social and political turmoil have led to dramatic abuses of human rights. According to a 2008 Worldfocus report, 20,000 deaths in Kashmir have been officially accounted for, but human rights organizations estimate that up to 70,000 people have died and 8,000 have “disappeared.” Around 1,000 bodies have been found in mass graves in Kashmir Valley, according to Haley Duschinski, who has conducted extensive research on the Kashmir conflict.

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By Sreeja K., Age 11

One rainy, stormy day, I sat looking out my window. The clouds were dark and gray, as lightning flashed every few minutes. As I sat, tired and bored, my eyes fell upon two little boys. One was about six years old, holding a small, black umbrella with a few bent spokes. The other was about four, hugging the older one and saying, “What are we going to do?” The older one said, “Don’t worry, little brother, we’ll find someone to take us in.” He was smiling at his brother, but at the same time, tears were pouring down his face.

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