Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Restore high-speed internet in Kashmir, international organisations repeat their demand

More than 25 international and national non-profit organisations and civil society groups voice their concerns urging the Jammu and Kashmir Government to restore high speed internet access in the region.

Their statement also requests the government to ensure stable and secure communication services in the Union Territory.

A letter was sent to the Jammu and Kashmir Government highlighting the fact that the UT has been facing unprecedented restrictions on communications since August 4, 2019.

Communications have not been completely restored even after almost a year.

“These communication blocks have caused immense damage to the citizens of the erstwhile state. Students have lost many hours of their education, people have lost their livelihoods, the media has been severely crippled, the economy has suffered immensely and businesses have collapsed in the absence of a stable internet connection. Moreover, people of the region have suffered significant emotional trauma because of the communication clampdown and the inability to reach out to loved ones. The inability to get timely information during the COVID-19 pandemic due to this network disruption has only added to the woes, particularly affecting health care workers who needed to keep updated with latest developments in the line of treatment . There have also been multiple petitions filed in the Supreme Court of India against this blockade and review committees set up as a result have been unresponsive to the ground reality,” the statement reads.

Several special rapporteurs appointed by The United Nations Human Rights CouncilC(UNHRC) issued a joint statement 22nd August 2019 in which they had stated that “The blackout is a form of collective punishment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, without even a pretext of a precipitating offense.”

The repeated instances of internet shutdowns and degradation of network services are causing immense harm to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The coalition of non-profit organisations and civil society groups urged the government of the Union Territory and associate government authorities to restore high speed internet access in the region. They also request the government to ensure stable and secure communication services in the Union Territory.

Journalists (CPJ)

Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF)

Free Expression Myanmar (FEM)(Myanmar Digital Rights Forum Partners)

Free Speech Collective

Indian Civil Liberties Union (ICLU)

International Federation of Journalists – Asia Pacific (IFJ-AP)

Internet Sans Frontieres (Internet Without Borders)

Internet democracy project (IDP)

Liberia Information Technology Student Union

L’Association Francophone pour les Droits de l’Homme

Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe (MISA-Zimbabwe)

Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB)(Myanmar Digital Rights Forum Partners)

Myanmar ICT for Development Organization(MIDO)(Myanmar Digital Rights Forum Partners)

Phandeeyar(Myanmar Digital Rights Forum Partners)

Point of View (POV)

Relaycorp

SFLC.in (Software Freedom Law Center, India)

Swathanthra Malayalam Computing

UBUNTEAM (Côte d’Ivoire)UBUNTEAM(MALI)

VE sin Filtro

WITNESS

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