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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

UN rights chief, Amnesty join chorus seeking release of Kashmir rights defender Khurram Pervaiz

Global rights bodies, including that of the United Nations, on Tuesday, condemned the arrest of human rights activist Khurram Pervaiz in an alleged militant funding case. Perviaz was arrested after the National Investigation Agency of India raided his residence in the Sonwar area of Srinagar and simultaneously his office at Amira Kadal.

“I’m hearing disturbing reports that Khurram Parvez was arrested today [Monday] in Kashmir and 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,” Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, said in a tweet.

Amnesty International, referring to his arrest, said that the Indian authorities have misused the “anti-terror law”.

“The arrest of Kashmiri activist Khurram Parvez is yet another example of how anti-terror laws are being misused to criminalize human rights work & stifle dissent in India. Instead of targeting HRDs, authorities should focus on bringing accountability for human rights violations,” Amnesty which has over seven million members globally, said.

The Rafto Foundation, a body working for the global promotion of human rights released a statement which demanded, “immediately release Parvez,” who was working as program coordinator of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and Chairman of the Board of Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD).

“We observe with regret that the Indian government intimidates citizens working to secure the values and norms enshrined both in the Constitution of India and in international treaties ratified by the government itself. We appeal to Indian authorities to respect Mr. Parvez’s habeas corpus rights and release him from detention without delay,” Jostein Hole Kobbeltvedt, Director of the Rafto Foundation, said in a statement.
In 2017, the JKCCS was awarded the Rafto Prize for Human Rights.

The World Organization Against Torture, based in Geneva, also expressed its deep concern. “We are deeply concerned about the high risk of torture while in custody. We call for his immediate release,” the organization said.

Khurrum has criticized various moves of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Jammu and Kashmir including revocation of Article 370 on August 05, 2019.

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