One Year In Detention: UN Experts Demand Immediate Release Of Kashmiri Activist Khurram Parvez
By Our Special Correspondent
Washington, D.C. November 23, 2022 – Office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNHCHR) issued a statement on November 22, 2022, “One year in detention: UN experts demand immediate release of Kashmiri activist Khurram Parvez.”
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Chairman, ‘World Forum for Peace & Justice’ said that the statement is a significant step towards greater international recognition of the serious abuse and misuse of draconian law, ‘Unlawful Activity Prevention Act’ (UAPA) which has been employed to silence the human rights activists like Khurram Parvez and journalists who dare to speak out about the human rights violations in Indian occupied Kashmir. The statement takes the veil of secrecy off of India’s crimes against innocent human rights champions with the hope that the world powers can share the outrage and anger felt by the people of Kashmir.
The joint statement by world renowned UN experts states that “The arrest and detention of Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez has a chilling effect on civil society, rights activists and journalists in the region”, UN experts warned today, reiterating their call for “his immediate and unconditional release by the Indian Government.”
It is worth mentioning here that Mary Lawlor, UN Rapporteur on Human Rights Defender has earlier said on November 22, that “I’m hearing disturbing reports that Khurram Parvez was arrested today in Kashmir & is at risk of being charged by authorities in #India with terrorism-related crimes. He’s not a terrorist, he’s a Human Rights Defender.”
Dr Fai added that it is clear that the Indian Government is violating the very principles of human decency and democratic freedom against the promoters and proponents of human rights. In Kashmir.
The UN experts statement further says, “We are dismayed at the continued deprivation of liberty of Mr. Parvez, in what is increasingly proving to be an act of retaliation against a human rights defender for his tireless work documenting and reporting serious human rights violations, including enforced disappearances and unlawful killings in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir,” the experts said on the one-year anniversary of his arrest.
“We reiterate our serious concerns about the amendment of the applicable legislation which allows the designation of any individual as a ʽterroristʼ, bypassing the requirement to establish membership or association with banned groups, and its application as a means of coercion against civil society, the media, and human rights defenders in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir,” the experts said.
Dr. Fai said that it is heartening to note that the UN experts have taken the situation very seriously, when they stated “We call on the Government of India to end reprisals and intimidation of activists and civil society organisations, including of those like Mr. Parvez who share information and testimony on human rights violations with UN human rights bodies and mechanisms.”
Fai hoped that the saner elements within the Indian public square will persuade the Government of India to explore the avenues to solving the root cause of the problem – the unfulfilled promise of self-determination as guaranteed by successive United Nations Security Council resolutions.
The experts: Aua Baldé (Chair-Rapporteur), Gabriella Citroni (Vice-Chair), Grażyna Baranowska, Luciano Hazan, Angkhana Neelapaijit, Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances; Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism and Morris Tidball-Binz, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.