International NGOs express concern over grim HR situation in IOK » Kashmir Media Service

Geneva, March 12 (KMS): Eight prominent international human rights organizations have expressed grave concern over the prevailing grim human rights situation in occupied Kashmir where the Indian authorities continue to impose lockdown for the past over seven months.

The concern has been articulated by Amnesty International, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, International Service for Human Rights and World Organisation Against Torture in a joint statement in Geneva.

The statement said, these organizations express grave concern over the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir, where the authorities imposed severe restrictions after a decision to revoke special status of the territory on 5 August 2019, including one of the world’s longest internet shutdowns, which the Indian Supreme Court has said violates the right to freedom of expression.

The statement said that hundreds were arbitrarily arrested, and there were some serious allegations of beatings and abusive treatment in custody, including alleged cases of torture. It said that three former puppet chief ministers, other leading politicians, as well as Hurriyat leaders and their supporters, remained in detention under the draconian law, Public Safety Act (PSA), and other abusive laws, many without charge and in undisclosed locations outside occupied Kashmir. “This violates fair trial safeguards of the criminal justice system and undermines accountability, transparency, and respect for human rights. Journalists and human rights defenders have been threatened for criticizing the clampdown. These violations, as those committed over the past decades, are met with chronic impunity,” it added.

The organizations urged the Indian government to ensure that independent observers including all human rights defenders and foreign journalists are allowed proper access to carry out their work freely and without fear, release everyone detained without charge, and remove restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of movement, including where they have been denied the right to leave the territory by being placed on the ‘Exit Control List’.

They asked the governments of India and Pakistan to grant unconditional access to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and other human rights mechanisms to Kashmir.

The organizations also urged the UN Human Rights Council to establish an independent international investigation mechanism into past and ongoing crimes under international law and human rights violations in Kashmir as recommended by the UN rights

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