Global Human Rights Organizations Demands Action in Kashmir Ahead of G20 Summit

Amnesty International, in conjunction with five other prominent human rights organizations, has joined forces to issue a compelling open letter, urgently appealing for the cessation of human rights violations within the volatile region of Kashmir.

This collective plea coincides with the upcoming G20 summit scheduled to convene in New Delhi, India. The signatory organizations, which include Amnesty International, the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Front Line Defenders, and the Kashmir Law & Justice Project, directed their letter to representatives from G20 member nations, guest countries, and invited international organizations.

The primary focus of this impassioned letter is to raise concerns regarding the ongoing human rights violations taking place in the Indian-administered region of Kashmir (IAK).

It calls upon G20 member countries to address these concerns directly and unequivocally with the government of India, highlighting their obligations under international law. The essence of the appeal revolves around a plea for India to adhere to its international legal commitments.

Since the contentious revocation of Article 370A and Article 35A in 2019, which stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its semi-autonomous status, the government of India has been persistently implementing repressive policies.

These policies have notably encroached upon fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association. Furthermore, the government has come under criticism for its failure to investigate and prosecute alleged human rights violations committed by its military, paramilitary, police, and other security forces.

Kashmir, a region at the center of a long-standing territorial dispute between India and Pakistan, has witnessed a complex geopolitical landscape. Both nations have administered different portions of the territory since 1947.

In November 2021, the detention of renowned human rights defender Khurram Parvez by India’s National Investigation Agency sparked international concern. Parvez, who serves as the director of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, with allegations of “funding terrorism under the garb of protection of human rights.”

Subsequently, in March 2023, another prominent figure in Kashmiri journalism, Irfan Mehra, who had affiliations with JKCCS, was summoned and subsequently arrested by the National Investigation Agency. These developments have elicited widespread consternation among human rights advocates.

The open letter accuses the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of exploiting stringent laws and policies to perpetuate a form of colonialism in Kashmir, all with the aim of establishing a Hindu nationalist state.

These laws and policies, characterized by impunity and authoritarianism, are wielded to suppress civilian dissent, curtail access to bail, stifle civil society’s capacity for protest and advocacy, repress expressions of grief and anger, and undermine the vital work of human rights defenders and media organizations.

The collective appeal demands the immediate and unconditional release of Khurram Parvez and Irfan Mehra, along with the dropping of all charges against them. It emphatically calls for an end to the ongoing persecution and targeting of Kashmiri human rights defenders, journalists, dissenters, and political prisoners.

Furthermore, the letter beseeches the Indian government to permit civil society to operate freely within IAK and to discontinue its longstanding hindrance of international civil society and intergovernmental organizations seeking to engage with the region.

In closing, the open letter underscores the arbitrary nature of arrests and detentions that infringe upon individuals’ exercise of their human rights, emphasizing the need for accountability and redress when such abusive actions occur.

It also serves as a poignant reminder of the consistent calls for the Indian government to address the systemic issues surrounding its anti-terrorism framework, particularly its misuse as a tool to smear and silence human rights defenders.

Muhammad Wasama Khalid is a Correspondent and Researcher at Global Affairs. He is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations at National Defense University. His interests include history, politics, and current affairs. He has been published in the London Institute of Peace and Research, South Asian Journal, Diplomatic Insight, International Policy Digest, Sri Lanka Guardian, Global Village Space, Global Defense Insight, Global Affairs, And Modern Diplomacy. He tweets at @Wasama Khalid and can be reached at Wasamakhalid@gmail.com

Wasama Khalid
Wasama Khalid

Muhammad Wasama Khalid is a Correspondent and Researcher at Global Affairs. He is pursuing his Bachelors in International Relations at National Defense University (NDU). He has a profound interest in history, politics, current affairs, and international relations. He is an author of Global Village Space, Global Defense Insight, Global Affairs, and Modern Diplomacy. He tweets at @Wasama Khalid and can be reached at Wasamakhalid@gmail.com

Articles: 45

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *