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India
16.09.16
Urgent Interventions

Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez arbitrarily arrested and denied due process rights

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Bangkok-Dhaka-Geneva-Madurai-Paris-QuezonCity, September 16, 2016 - Ourorganisations strongly condemn today’s arbitrary arrest of Kashmiri humanrights defender Mr. Khurram Parvez, and call for his immediate andunconditional release.


On September16 at 12:30 am, police officers came to KhurramParvez’s home in Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir, arrested himwithout presenting a warrant, and took him to the Kothi Bagh police station,where he remains in arbitrary detention. He has not been allowed access to alawyer, and the police have provided no formal document of arrest or reason forhis detention.

The eveningprior his arrest, a group of police personnel headed by the Kothi Bagh StationHouse Officer came to Mr. Parvez’s home and asked for him. Mr. Parvez was notat home at the time, but spoke to the Officer by telephone and was informedthat the Superintendent of Police, Sheikh Faisal, wished to meet him. Mr.Parvez agreed to meet with the Superintendent the following day. He wasnevertheless arrested without explanation several hours later after arriving athis home.

Mr. Parvez’sarrest comes two days after he was stopped at theNew Delhi airport by immigration authorities and prevented from travelling toGeneva to attend the ongoing session of the United Nations Human RightsCouncil.[1]The travel ban and arbitrary detention of Mr. Parvez are the latest examples ofthe Indian government’s attempts to silence human rights defenders and preventthe spread of information on the extremely concerning human rights violationstaking place in Jammu and Kashmir. Numerous lawyers and human rights defendershave been arbitrarily detained[2], and the authoritiescontinue to impose a curfew and deny access to United Nations observers.[3]Given this ongoing repression and crackdown in Jammu and Kashmir, obtaininginformation on Mr. Parvez’s current situation is proving very difficult, andthere is good reason for concern regarding his well-being in police custody.

Mr. Parvez is the Chairperson of theAsian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and ProgramCoordinator of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). Mr. Parvezhas consistently highlighted violations of human rights taking place in India,notably in Jammu and Kashmir, and was part of the research group that publisheda report in December 2009 on the discovery of thousands of unmarked graves inKashmir.

Our organisations strongly condemn theescalating repression of Mr. Parvez, and call on the Indian authorities toimmediately and unconditionally release him, and to allow him to continue toconduct his legitimate human rights work without hindrance or reprisal.

We demand an end to the harassmentagainst all human rights defenders in India, and call on the internationalcommunity, notably the other States sitting alongside India as members of theUN Human Rights Council, to insist that India comply with its human rightsobligations, notably the provisions of the 1998 UN Declaration on Human RightsDefenders, which underscores the right of human rights defenders to freely andpeacefully engage in their work and be protected from reprisals for havingexercised this right.

***
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 HumanRights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

The Asian Federation Against Involuntary 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) works towards the radical rethinking and fundamental redesigning ofjustice institutions in order to protect and promote human rights in Asia.Established in 1984, the Hong Kong based organisation is a Laureate of theRight Livelihood Award 2014.

FORUM-ASIA is a regional humanrights group with 58 member organisations in 19 countries across Asia.FORUM-ASIA addresses key areas of human rights violations in the region,including freedoms of expression, assembly and association, human rightsdefenders, and democratisation. FORUM-ASIA operates through its offices inBangkok, Jakarta, Geneva and Kathmandu.

Human Rights Defenders Alert - India (HRDA) is a national network of human rights defenders for human rightsdefenders. HRDA intervenes in the casesof threats/harassment/attack on HRDs and curbing of freedom of expression,assembly and association.

The International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances(ICAED) is a network of 42 member organisations concerned with the issueof human rights and the struggle against enforced disappearances. The principalobjective of ICAED is maximising impact of the activities carried out by itsmembers in favour of an early ratification and effective implementation of theConvention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances.

Odhikar, a human rightsorganisation based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, was founded in 1994 with the aim tocreate a wider monitoring and awareness raising system on the abuse of civiland political rights.

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 /Audrey Couprie: + 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] SeeJoint Press Release, Indianauthorities prevent Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez from travellingto Geneva for U.N. Human Rights Council session, 15 September2016 : https://www.fidh.org/en/region/asia/india/indian-authorities-prevent-kashmiri-human-rights-defender-khurram/ http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/india/2016/09/d23942/

[2] Formore information on the repression of lawyers and activists in Kashmir, seeIAPL press release from 2 September 2016: https://www.facebook.com/IAPLIndia/photos/pcb.1598105833823822/1598105710490501/?type=3&theater

[3] 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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