Friday, December 8, 2023

UN body demands immediate release of Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez

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United Nations (UN) human rights experts have demanded the immediate release of Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez by Indian authorities.

United Nations (UN) human rights experts have demanded the immediate release of Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez by Indian authorities.

Khurram Parvez has been detained since his arrest in November 2021 under draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UAPA].

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) slammed Parvez’s detention as “arbitrary.”

It called on the Indian authorities to immediately release him and to provide him with an “enforceable right to compensation and other reparations.”

The WGAD is mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate cases of arbitrary detention, consider individual complaints, and adopt opinions on whether or not the detention of an individual is arbitrary. This statement was issued on 5 June in response to a complaint on Parvez’s behalf, filed jointly by the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), CIVICUS, FORUM-ASIA and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT).

“The UN ruling on Khurram Parvez’s case authoritatively confirms that his detention is an act of reprisal for his human rights work, and an attempt to silence him and Kashmiri civil society as a whole. The Indian authorities must implement the UN’s recommendations and immediately release Khurram,” said Alice Mogwe, FIDH President.

“The arbitrary and unjust detention of Khurram Parvez is not an isolated incident but the result of India’s relentless attacks on those who expose the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government’s discriminatory and abusive policies,” said Gerald Staberock, OMCT Secretary General.

Parvez was arrested on November 22 in 2021 following 14-hour raids carried out at his house and other properties linked to him by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Parvez was 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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