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India
15.09.16
Urgent Interventions

Authorities prevent Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez from travelling to Geneva for U.N. Human Rights Council session

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Asian Federation Against InvoluntaryDisappearances (AFAD)

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development(FORUM-ASIA)

Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Human Rights Defenders Alert – India (HRDA)

International Coalition Against EnforcedDisappearances (ICAED)

Odhikar

The Observatory

Joint Press Release

Indian authorities prevent Kashmirihuman rights defender Khurram Parvez from travelling to Geneva for U.N. HumanRights Council session


Bangkok-Dhaka-Geneva-Madurai-Paris-QuezonCity, September 15, 2016 – Our organisations condemn the arbitrary travel banimposed on Kashmiri human rights defender Mr. Khurram Parvez, who was prohibitedfrom leaving India as he was about to travel to Geneva, Switzerland toparticipate in the 33rd session of the United Nations' Human RightsCouncil (UNHRC).

At 1:30 a.m. on September 14, 2016, Mr. KhurramParvez was stopped by immigration officials at the Indira Gandhi Internationalairport in Delhi and prevented from leaving the country to attend the currentUNHRC session. Mr. Parvez was detained for one and a half hours at the airport,and subsequently told that the Intelligence Bureau of India had ordered that hewas not allowed to travel, despite having an invitation letter and a valid visato travel to Geneva. Mr. Parvez repeatedly asked for an explanation for why hewas being denied the right to travel and asked to see written proof of theorders from the Intelligence Bureau, but the authorities refused to provide himwith either. Immigration officers simply told Mr. Parvez that they hadinstructions that he was not to be ‘arrested’ but that he should not be allowedto leave the country.

Mr. Parvez is the Chairperson of theAsian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and ProgramCoordinator of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). He wasslated to be part of the AFAD & JKCCS delegation visiting Geneva from 14thto 24th September to attend the UNHRC session. While in Geneva, the Kashmirimembers of the delegation are scheduled to brief UN bodies including the UNHigh Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the concerning situation in Jammuand Kashmir.

In his work with AFAD and JKCCS, Mr.Parvez has consistently highlighted violations of human rights taking place inIndia, notably in Jammu and Kashmir. In addition to their planned advocacy workat the current UNHRC session, JKCCS has also recently submitted a report to theUN on the role of the Indian authorities in gross human rights violationstaking place in Jammu and Kashmir.

By denying Mr. Parvez the right totravel to Geneva to participate at the UNHRC session, the Indian Government isdisregarding its obligation to uphold international human rights principles,notably the right of civil society members to be represented and engage with UNmechanisms, as enshrined in the 1998 UN Declaration of human rights defendersand several resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly.[1]

It is especially concerning that Indiais engaging in such repression in the wake of a statement made yesterday by theUN High Commissioner for Human Rights, wherein he expressed regret at India’slack of cooperation with international human rights mechanisms, particularlywith respect to Kashmir. The Government of India continues to out-rightlyrefuse to give the UN permission to conduct a fact-finding mission in Kashmir,despite widespread accusations of serious human rights violations by securitypersonnel in the region.[2]

The travel ban imposed on Khurram Parvezis the latest attempt by the Indian Government to censor the human rightssituation in Kashmir and to isolate the Kashmiri people, notably human rightsdefenders working on this important issue. Especially given that India ispresently a member of the UN Human Rights Council, the international communitycannot stay silent in the face of such disregard of its human rightsobligations.

Our organisations condemn the travel banagainst Mr. Parvez, and call on the Indian authorities to respect his personalliberty, his right to travel freely, notably to participate in meetings at theUN. Additionally, we demand an end to the harassment of human rights defendersand that the Indian government remove all legal and administrative barriersthat impede their legitimate work on human rights. We also call on theinternational community, notably the other members of the UN Human RightsCouncil, to insist that India comply with its human rights obligations,including by allowing Indian human rights defenders to freely engage in their work,and by fully cooperating with the UN requests for access to Kashmir andelsewhere in the country.

***
TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (The Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and OMCT. The objective of this programme isto intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rightsdefenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented byinternational civil society.

The Asian Federation AgainstInvoluntary Disappearances (AFAD) is a federation ofhuman rights organizations working directly on the issue of involuntarydisappearances in Asia. Envisioning a world without desaparecidos, AFAD wasfounded on June 4, 1998 in Manila, Philippines.

The Asian Human Rights Commission(AHRC) workstowards the radical rethinking and fundamental redesigning of justiceinstitutions in order to protect and promote human rights in Asia. Establishedin 1984, the Hong Kong based organisation is a Laureate of the Right LivelihoodAward 2014.

FORUM-ASIA is a regional human rights group with 58member organisations in 19 countries across Asia. FORUM-ASIA addresses keyareas of human rights violations in the region, including freedoms ofexpression, assembly and association, human rights defenders, anddemocratisation. FORUM-ASIA operates through its offices in Bangkok, Jakarta,Geneva and Kathmandu.

Human Rights Defenders Alert – India(HRDA) is anational network of human rights defenders for human rights defenders. HRDA intervenes in the cases ofthreats/harassment/attack on HRDs and curbing of freedom of expression,assembly and association.

The International Coalition AgainstEnforced Disappearances (ICAED) is a network of 42member organisations concerned with the issue of human rights and the struggleagainst enforced disappearances. The principal objective of ICAED is maximisingimpact of the activities carried out by its members in favour of an earlyratification and effective implementation of the Convention for the Protectionof all Persons from Enforced Disappearances.

Odhikar, a human rights organisationbased in Dhaka, Bangladesh, was founded in 1994 with the aim to create a widermonitoring and awareness raising system on the abuse of civil and politicalrights.

For more information, please contact:

· AFAD: Mary Aileen D.Bacalso: +63 2 456 6434

· AHRC: Md. Ashrafuzzaman:+41 766 382 659 / +852 607 32 807

· FIDH: Arthur Manet / AudreyCouprie: + 33143552518

· FORUM-ASIA: Anjuman AraBegum: +977 982 381 5517

· HRDA: Mathew Jacob: +91 886 011 0520

· ICAED: Mary Aileen D.Bacalso: +63 917 792 4058

· Odhikar: Adilur RahmanKhan: + 880 29 88 85 87

· OMCT: Delphine Reculeau:+41 22 809 49 34

[1] UNGeneral Assembly Resolution A/RES/53/144 (8 March 1999) and UN General AssemblyResolution A/C.3/70/L.46/Rev.1 (18 November 2015).

[2] Formore information on recent violence in Kashmir and the denial of UN access, seePeople’s Watch and FIDH joint press release from 18 August 2016 :https://www.fidh.org/en/region/asia/india/kashmir-un-observers-denied-access-to-investigate-ongoing-human

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