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Urgent Interventions

Call on government to immediately reinstate fundamental freedoms in Jammu & Kashmir

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
New Delhi
12 August 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,
Signed, in alphabetical order:
Bondita AcharyaHuman Rights Activist, Assam, India

Advocacy Forum - Nepal
Emmanuel AmistadExecutive Director, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL)
Professor Paola BacchettaGender and Women's Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Vineeta BalPune, India

Daniel BastardAsia-Pacific Director, Reporters Without Borders
Anjuman Ara Begum
Human Rights Activist, Guwahati, Assam, India

Bytes For All, Pakistan
Sr. CeliaNational Alliance for People's Movement, Karanataka
Umaa Chakravarti
Professor Indrani ChatterjeeUniversity of Texas at Austin
Professor Partha ChatterjeeColumbia University

Professor Angana P. ChatterjiCo-chair, Political Conflict, Gender and People’s Rights, Center for Race and Gender,
University of California, Berkeley
Dimitris ChristopoulosPresident, 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 DevaneyanSocial Activist

Arundhati DhuruNAPM

DITSHWANELO - The Botswana Centre for Human Rights
Jose Marie FaustinoSecretary General, Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND)

Brito FenandoFamilies of the Disappeared

Ruki FernandoINFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre, Colombo

Focus on the Global South
Bryan Ezra GonzalesPresident, National Society of Parliamentarians (Philippines)

Roshmi GoswamiFeminist, Social Activist

Christian GultiaPresident, Youth for Human Rights and Democracy (Philippines)

Hinna Hamid
Ifat Hamid
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)

Guissou JahangiriExecutive Director, Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA

Amina Masood JanjuaDefence for Human Rights Pakistan

Professor Abdul R JanMohamedUniversity of California, Berkeley

Dr. M.H. JawahirullahPresident, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi

Hina JilaniAdvocate, Supreme Court of Pakistan & Human Rights Activist

SiddharthK JIndependent Researcher, Bengaluru

Mamatha KarollilNew Delhi

Dr. Sylvia KarpagamPublic Health Doctor and Researcher
Poonam KaushikGeneral Secretary, Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan Delhi

Adilur Rahman KhanAdvocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh; Secretary, Odhikar

Komite Independen Pemantau Pemilu (KIPP - Indonesia)
Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections (NICFEC - Cambodia)
Michael NonNational 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 PillayFormer UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2008-2014)

Manjula PradeepChairperson, WAYVE Foundation

Professor Jyoti PuriSimmons University

Dr Sagari R RamdasFood Sovereignty Alliance, India

Arundhati RoyWriter

K.P. SasiFilmmaker, Write & Cartoonist

Swathi Seshadri
Geeta SeshuJournalist & Co-Founder, Free Speech Collective, Mumbai, India

Nilda L. SevillaSecretary General, Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD)
Gopal Krishna SiwakotiPresident, INHURED International

Debbie StothardCoordinator, ALTSEAN-Burma

Aijaz Zaka SyedJournalist & Columnist

Ambika TandonResearcher, New Delhi

The Commission for The Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
Henri TiphagneExecutive Director, People's Watch

Professor A K M Wahiduzzaman

World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)---
For any queries regarding this letter, please contact Angana Chatterji at or Juliette Rousselot at

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