The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) joined other non-governmental organizations Wednesday in urging India, Pakistan and the UN Human Rights Council to take action to address the grave human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
A Turkish news agency report said that representatives of the ICJ and some international NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issued a joint statement at the United Nations.
In the statement, the organizations urged the authorities to take action to stop human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Our organizations express grave concern over the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir, where the authorities imposed severe restrictions after a decision to revoke constitutional autonomy on 5 August 2019, including one of the world’s longest internet shutdowns, which the Indian Supreme Court has said violates the right to freedom of expression,” they said.
The organizations said hundreds were arbitrarily arrested in the region and there are some serious allegations of beatings and abusive treatment in custody, including alleged cases of torture.
“Three former chief ministers, other leading politicians, as well as separatist leaders and their alleged supporters remain in detention under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and other abusive laws, many without charge and in undisclosed locations outside of Jammu and Kashmir,” they said.
The organizations claimed that this violates fair trial safeguards of the criminal justice system and undermines accountability, transparency and respect for human rights.
“Journalists and human rights defenders have been threatened for criticizing the clampdown. These violations, as those committed over the past decades, are met with chronic impunity,” they said.
The organizations urged the government of India to ensure that independent observers, including all human rights defenders and foreign journalists, are allowed proper access to carry out their work freely and without fear, to release everyone detained without charge and to remove restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of movement, including where they have been denied the right to leave the country by being placed on the ‘Exit Control List’.
“We also call on the governments of India and Pakistan to grant unconditional access to the OHCHR and other human rights mechanisms to Kashmir,” they said, referring to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
They also urged the Council to establish an independent international investigation mechanism into past and ongoing crimes under international law and human rights violations by all parties in Kashmir as recommended by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.