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69 HR Activists and Organisations petition Modi on Jammu & Kashmir

Sabrangindia 13 Aug 2019

In a strongly worded statement, that calls out the government of India on its actions in the state of Jammu and Kashmir (abrogation of Articl3 370 and dissolving the state into two separate union territories, August 5), a group of academics, jurists, activists and organisations have petitioned prime minister, Narendra Modi.



Image Courtesy: Tauseff Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images

Signatories include former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2008-2014), Judge  Dr. Navanethem Pillay, Hina Jilani, Advocate, Supreme Court of Pakistan, Daniel Bastard, Asia-Pacific Director, Reporters Without Borders, Adil ur Rahman, Bangladesh, Dr Partha Chatterjee, Columbia and Arundhati Roy, writer. Organisations and individuals from Sri Lanka, Bangaldesh, India and Pakistan as also those from these nationalities staying in the USA are sigantories.

"The state’s unilateral repeal of the special status of Jammu & Kashmir, the reconfiguration of the State of Jammu & Kashmir, and the process through which these legislative changes were imposed in the midst of a complete lock-down of the region, are egregious. These actions violate the people of Jammu & Kashmir’s fundamental right to self-determination under international law and their right to participate in crucial decisions that affect their lives. Further, these actions have sent shock waves of fear and uncertainty among the people of Jammu & Kashmir and contravene both domestic and international law", the statement says.

The statement is also highly critical of the mass detention of over 400 persons in the valley. Signatories have called for not just the release of all detained and a restoration of normalcy but also the 'immediate and unconditional restoration of the status of J & K under Article 370 of the Constitution of India."

The entire text of the statement may be read here:

August 12, 2019
Dear Prime Minister Modi,

We, the undersigned civil society activists and organizations, human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, and academics from around the globe, write to express our deep concern regarding the recent actions your government has taken over the past week in the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
The state’s unilateral repeal of the special status of Jammu & Kashmir, the reconfiguration of the State of Jammu & Kashmir, and the process through which these legislative changes were imposed in the midst of a complete lock-down of the region, are egregious. These actions violate the people of Jammu & Kashmir’s fundamental right to self-determination under international law and their right to participate in crucial decisions that affect their lives. Further, these actions have sent shock waves of fear and uncertainty among the people of Jammu & Kashmir and contravene both domestic and international law.

Beyond the questionable legality of your actions with regard to the Constitution, we are concerned over reports that over 500 people have been arbitrarily arrested or placed under house arrest in Jammu & Kashmir over the past days and such treatment appears to be continuing. We understand that some of these may include activists, academics, and opponents, who have been detained under the Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA) of 1978 or the Jammu & Kashmir Preventive Detention Act of 1964.

We recall that the PSA has been widely criticized for violating international human rights law, as it operates outside normal judicial safeguards and oversight and thus denies due process to individuals arrested under it. Concerns regarding abuse of the PSA, as well as the Armed Forces (Jammu & Kashmir) Special Powers Act of 1990 and the Disturbed Areas Act, have been raised repeatedly over the years by local and international civil society organizations, as well as the United Nations. Regrettably, your government has continued to abuse these laws and has taken no action to align the above laws with India’s international human rights obligations.

We are extremely worried about the ongoing curfews and curfew-like conditions and the shut-down of communications inside Jammu & Kashmir. The violations of rights to freedom of expression and freedom of movement that these restrictions entail create conditions of psychosocial trauma. These curbs constitute severe violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which India ratified in 1979, and under no circumstances can be justified in the guise of public order.

We strongly believe that for India to be able to continue to define itself as a democracy it must allow public discourse and debate on these issues. This includes ensuring that the people of Jammu & Kashmir are able to exercise their right to take part as primary stakeholders in the critical decisions regarding their future. This certainly cannot be achieved by blocking communications, detaining political leaders and civil society activists, and restricting movements within Jammu & Kashmir.

In line with these concerns, we respectfully request that your government take the following measures with the utmost urgency:
• Immediately revoke the curfew and its attendant conditions and reinstate communications in and out of Jammu & Kashmir;
• Immediately and unconditionally release from detention all those who have been arbitrarily detained or arrested under the PSA or other legislation over the past several days;
• Immediately and unconditionally restore the status of Jammu & Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution of India; and
• Implement in full the recommendations made in 2018 and again in 2019 by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights with regards to Jammu & Kashmir, including respecting the right to self-determination, and guaranteeing fundamental freedoms.

We hope that you will heed these recommendations.

Please note that this letter will be made public.
Yours sincerely,
Bondita Acharya, human rights activist, Assam, India,
Advocacy Forum - Nepal Emmanuel Amistad,
Executive Director, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines,
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL)
Professor Paola Bacchetta Gender and Women's Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Vineeta Bal, Pune, India
Daniel Bastard, Asia-Pacific Director, Reporters Without Borders
Anjuman Ara Begum, Human Rights Activist, Guwahati, Assam, India
Bytes For All, Pakistan,
 Sr. Celia,  National Alliance for People's Movement, Karanataka
Uma Chakravarti
Professor Indrani Chatterjee, University of Texas at Austin
Professor Partha Chatterjee, Columbia University
Professor Angana P. Chatterji, Co-chair, Political Conflict, Gender and People’s Rights, Center for Race and Gender, University of California, Berkeley
Dimitris Christopoulos, President, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL)
Karuna D. W. Academic, Chennai
Sejal Dand Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND)
A Devaneyan, Social Activist
Arundhati Dhuru,  NAPM
DITSHWANELO - The Botswana Centre for Human Rights Jose Marie Faustino
Secretary General, Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND)
Brito Fenando, Families of the Disappeared
Ruki Fernando, INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre, Colombo
Focus on the Global South
Bryan Ezra Gonzales, President, National Society of Parliamentarians (Philippines)
Roshmi Goswami, Feminist, Social Activist
Christian Gultia, President, Youth for Human Rights and Democracy (Philippines)
Hinna Hamid Ifat Hamid Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
Guissou Jahangiri, Executive Director, Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA
Amina Masood Janjua, Defence for Human Rights Pakistan
Professor Abdul R JanMohamed, University of California, Berkeley
Dr. M.H. Jawahirullah, President, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi
 Hina Jilani, Advocate, Supreme Court of Pakistan & Human Rights Activist
SiddharthK J, Independent Researcher, Bengaluru
Mamatha Karollil,  New Delhi
Dr. Sylvia Karpagam, Public Health Doctor and Researcher
Poonam Kaushik, General Secretary, Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan Delhi
Adilur Rahman Khan, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh; Secretary, Odhikar
Komite Independen Pemantau Pemilu (KIPP - Indonesia) Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections (NICFEC - Cambodia) 
Michael Non National Co-Convenor, Koalisyon ng Kabataan Para sa Karapatang Pantao (Youth Coalition for Human Rights - Philippines)
 Nonviolence International Canada Odhikar (Bangladesh)
People's Action for Free & Fair Elections (PAFFREL - Sri Lanka)
People’s Alliance for Credible Elections (PACE)
Judge Dr. Navanethem Pillay, Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2008-2014)
Manjula Pradeep, Chairperson, WAYVE Foundation
Professor Jyoti Puri, Simmons University
Dr Sagari R Ramdas, Food Sovereignty Alliance, India
Arundhati Roy, Writer
K.P. Sasi, Filmmaker, Write & Cartoonist
Swathi Seshadri
Geeta Seshu, Journalist & Co-Founder, Free Speech Collective, Mumbai, India
Nilda L. Sevilla, Secretary General, Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD)
Gopal Krishna Siwakoti, President, INHURED International
Debbie Stothard, Coordinator, ALTSEAN-Burma
Aijaz Zaka Syed, Journalist & Columnist
Ambika Tandon, Researcher, New Delhi
The Commission for The Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
Henri Tiphagne, Executive Director, People's Watch
Professor A K M Wahiduzzaman (OMCT)

69 HR Activists and Organisations petition Modi on Jammu & Kashmir

In a strongly worded statement, that calls out the government of India on its actions in the state of Jammu and Kashmir (abrogation of Articl3 370 and dissolving the state into two separate union territories, August 5), a group of academics, jurists, activists and organisations have petitioned prime minister, Narendra Modi.



Image Courtesy: Tauseff Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images

Signatories include former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2008-2014), Judge  Dr. Navanethem Pillay, Hina Jilani, Advocate, Supreme Court of Pakistan, Daniel Bastard, Asia-Pacific Director, Reporters Without Borders, Adil ur Rahman, Bangladesh, Dr Partha Chatterjee, Columbia and Arundhati Roy, writer. Organisations and individuals from Sri Lanka, Bangaldesh, India and Pakistan as also those from these nationalities staying in the USA are sigantories.

"The state’s unilateral repeal of the special status of Jammu & Kashmir, the reconfiguration of the State of Jammu & Kashmir, and the process through which these legislative changes were imposed in the midst of a complete lock-down of the region, are egregious. These actions violate the people of Jammu & Kashmir’s fundamental right to self-determination under international law and their right to participate in crucial decisions that affect their lives. Further, these actions have sent shock waves of fear and uncertainty among the people of Jammu & Kashmir and contravene both domestic and international law", the statement says.

The statement is also highly critical of the mass detention of over 400 persons in the valley. Signatories have called for not just the release of all detained and a restoration of normalcy but also the 'immediate and unconditional restoration of the status of J & K under Article 370 of the Constitution of India."

The entire text of the statement may be read here:

August 12, 2019
Dear Prime Minister Modi,

We, the undersigned civil society activists and organizations, human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, and academics from around the globe, write to express our deep concern regarding the recent actions your government has taken over the past week in the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
The state’s unilateral repeal of the special status of Jammu & Kashmir, the reconfiguration of the State of Jammu & Kashmir, and the process through which these legislative changes were imposed in the midst of a complete lock-down of the region, are egregious. These actions violate the people of Jammu & Kashmir’s fundamental right to self-determination under international law and their right to participate in crucial decisions that affect their lives. Further, these actions have sent shock waves of fear and uncertainty among the people of Jammu & Kashmir and contravene both domestic and international law.

Beyond the questionable legality of your actions with regard to the Constitution, we are concerned over reports that over 500 people have been arbitrarily arrested or placed under house arrest in Jammu & Kashmir over the past days and such treatment appears to be continuing. We understand that some of these may include activists, academics, and opponents, who have been detained under the Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA) of 1978 or the Jammu & Kashmir Preventive Detention Act of 1964.

We recall that the PSA has been widely criticized for violating international human rights law, as it operates outside normal judicial safeguards and oversight and thus denies due process to individuals arrested under it. Concerns regarding abuse of the PSA, as well as the Armed Forces (Jammu & Kashmir) Special Powers Act of 1990 and the Disturbed Areas Act, have been raised repeatedly over the years by local and international civil society organizations, as well as the United Nations. Regrettably, your government has continued to abuse these laws and has taken no action to align the above laws with India’s international human rights obligations.

We are extremely worried about the ongoing curfews and curfew-like conditions and the shut-down of communications inside Jammu & Kashmir. The violations of rights to freedom of expression and freedom of movement that these restrictions entail create conditions of psychosocial trauma. These curbs constitute severe violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which India ratified in 1979, and under no circumstances can be justified in the guise of public order.

We strongly believe that for India to be able to continue to define itself as a democracy it must allow public discourse and debate on these issues. This includes ensuring that the people of Jammu & Kashmir are able to exercise their right to take part as primary stakeholders in the critical decisions regarding their future. This certainly cannot be achieved by blocking communications, detaining political leaders and civil society activists, and restricting movements within Jammu & Kashmir.

In line with these concerns, we respectfully request that your government take the following measures with the utmost urgency:
• Immediately revoke the curfew and its attendant conditions and reinstate communications in and out of Jammu & Kashmir;
• Immediately and unconditionally release from detention all those who have been arbitrarily detained or arrested under the PSA or other legislation over the past several days;
• Immediately and unconditionally restore the status of Jammu & Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution of India; and
• Implement in full the recommendations made in 2018 and again in 2019 by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights with regards to Jammu & Kashmir, including respecting the right to self-determination, and guaranteeing fundamental freedoms.

We hope that you will heed these recommendations.

Please note that this letter will be made public.
Yours sincerely,
Bondita Acharya, human rights activist, Assam, India,
Advocacy Forum - Nepal Emmanuel Amistad,
Executive Director, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines,
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL)
Professor Paola Bacchetta Gender and Women's Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Vineeta Bal, Pune, India
Daniel Bastard, Asia-Pacific Director, Reporters Without Borders
Anjuman Ara Begum, Human Rights Activist, Guwahati, Assam, India
Bytes For All, Pakistan,
 Sr. Celia,  National Alliance for People's Movement, Karanataka
Uma Chakravarti
Professor Indrani Chatterjee, University of Texas at Austin
Professor Partha Chatterjee, Columbia University
Professor Angana P. Chatterji, Co-chair, Political Conflict, Gender and People’s Rights, Center for Race and Gender, University of California, Berkeley
Dimitris Christopoulos, President, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL)
Karuna D. W. Academic, Chennai
Sejal Dand Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND)
A Devaneyan, Social Activist
Arundhati Dhuru,  NAPM
DITSHWANELO - The Botswana Centre for Human Rights Jose Marie Faustino
Secretary General, Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND)
Brito Fenando, Families of the Disappeared
Ruki Fernando, INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre, Colombo
Focus on the Global South
Bryan Ezra Gonzales, President, National Society of Parliamentarians (Philippines)
Roshmi Goswami, Feminist, Social Activist
Christian Gultia, President, Youth for Human Rights and Democracy (Philippines)
Hinna Hamid Ifat Hamid Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
Guissou Jahangiri, Executive Director, Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA
Amina Masood Janjua, Defence for Human Rights Pakistan
Professor Abdul R JanMohamed, University of California, Berkeley
Dr. M.H. Jawahirullah, President, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi
 Hina Jilani, Advocate, Supreme Court of Pakistan & Human Rights Activist
SiddharthK J, Independent Researcher, Bengaluru
Mamatha Karollil,  New Delhi
Dr. Sylvia Karpagam, Public Health Doctor and Researcher
Poonam Kaushik, General Secretary, Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan Delhi
Adilur Rahman Khan, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh; Secretary, Odhikar
Komite Independen Pemantau Pemilu (KIPP - Indonesia) Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections (NICFEC - Cambodia) 
Michael Non National Co-Convenor, Koalisyon ng Kabataan Para sa Karapatang Pantao (Youth Coalition for Human Rights - Philippines)
 Nonviolence International Canada Odhikar (Bangladesh)
People's Action for Free & Fair Elections (PAFFREL - Sri Lanka)
People’s Alliance for Credible Elections (PACE)
Judge Dr. Navanethem Pillay, Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2008-2014)
Manjula Pradeep, Chairperson, WAYVE Foundation
Professor Jyoti Puri, Simmons University
Dr Sagari R Ramdas, Food Sovereignty Alliance, India
Arundhati Roy, Writer
K.P. Sasi, Filmmaker, Write & Cartoonist
Swathi Seshadri
Geeta Seshu, Journalist & Co-Founder, Free Speech Collective, Mumbai, India
Nilda L. Sevilla, Secretary General, Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD)
Gopal Krishna Siwakoti, President, INHURED International
Debbie Stothard, Coordinator, ALTSEAN-Burma
Aijaz Zaka Syed, Journalist & Columnist
Ambika Tandon, Researcher, New Delhi
The Commission for The Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
Henri Tiphagne, Executive Director, People's Watch
Professor A K M Wahiduzzaman (OMCT)

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