Sunday, December 3, 2023

Release Khurram Parvez: UN’s second appeal to India in three weeks

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The United Nations on Wednesday said that the Narendra Modi government was targeting Kashmir’s prominent human rights defender Khurram Parvez for speaking about rights violations.

This is the United Nation’s second statement on the matter in three weeks.

Parvez was arrested under the draconian UAPA by National Investigation Agency on 22 November. Parvez who has been accused by NIA of criminal conspiracy and waging war against the government, is in Delhi’s Rohini Jail now.

“We are concerned that one month after Mr. Parvez’s arrest, he is still deprived of liberty in what appears to be a new incident of retaliation for his legitimate activities as a human rights defender and because he has spoken out about violations,” read the statement by UN rights experts.

According to UN rights experts, Parvez had been a victim of a number of incidents of reprisals reportedly for sharing information regarding rights violations with the UN, “as documented in various reports of the Secretary-General and communications from UN special procedures mandate holders.”

The peacekeeping organisation also criticised India’s use of UAPA “as a means of coercion to restrict civil society’s, the media’s and human rights defenders’ fundamental freedoms.”

Parvez, 44, is the program coordinator of the Jammu-Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), a prominent local rights advocacy group that has frequently published reports on human rights abuses in Kashmir. Parvez is also the chairman of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD).

In 2006, his work got international recognition when he was awarded the Reebok Human Rights Award. He was prevented from traveling to Geneva, in 2016, to attend a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. He was later slapped with the Public Safety Act (PSA) and was arrested for 76 days.

“How is history written? If you are looking at the positive side of it, somebody has to look at the negative also. Such people should be allowed to work when you say it’s a democracy,” Sameena Mir, wife of arrested activist earlier said to Maktoob.

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