UN HumanRights Council
Item 4General debate: Joint OralStatement Delivered by the International Federation for Human Rights Leagues(FIDH)
10 March 2020
Ourorganizations express grave concern over the human rights situation inJammu & Kashmir, where the authorities imposed severe restrictions after adecision to revoke constitutional autonomy on 5 August 2019, including one ofthe world’s longest internet shutdowns, which the Indian Supreme Court has saidviolates the right to freedom of expression.
Hundreds werearbitrarily arrested, and there are some serious allegations of beatings andabusive treatment in custody, including allegedcases of torture. Three former chief ministers, otherleading politicians, as well as separatist leaders and their allegedsupporters, remain in detention under the Public SafetyAct (PSA) and other abusive laws, many without charge and in undisclosedlocations outside of Jammu & Kashmir. This violates fair trial safeguards of thecriminal justice system and undermines accountability, transparency, andrespect for human rights. Journalistsand human rights defenders have been threatened for criticizing the clampdown.These violations, as those committed over the past decades, are met withchronic impunity.
We urge thegovernment of India to ensure independent observers including all human rightsdefenders and foreign journalists are allowed proper access to carry out theirwork freely and without fear, release everyone detained without charge, andremove restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and freedom ofmovement, including where they have been denied the right to leave the countryby being placed on the ‘Exit Control List’.
We also callon the governments of India and Pakistan to grant unconditional access to OHCHRand other human rights mechanisms to Kashmir.
We furtherurge the Council to establish an independent international investigationmechanism into past and ongoing crimes under international law and human rightsviolations by all parties in Kashmir, as recommended by the UN HighCommissioner for Human Rights.
2. Asian Forum forHuman Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
3. CIVICUS - WorldAlliance for Citizen Participation
4. Human Rights Watch
5. InternationalCommission of Jurists
6. InternationalFederation for Human Rights Leagues (FIDH)
7. InternationalService for Human Rights
8. World OrganisationAgainst Torture (OMCT)