India harassing HR activists who work with UN in IOK

Geneva, March 23, 2014 (PPI-OT): Kashmiri Hurriyet leader, Ishtiyaq Hameed, has said that the United Nations has improved ways in which it protects activists who work with it in exposing and reporting human rights violations worldwide, but India continues to punish those who work with the UN in occupied Kashmir.

Ishtiyaq Hameed addressed the UN Human Rights Council during general debate from the platform of World Muslim Congress, an international NGO accredited by the UN in New York and Geneva. He said, “World Muslim Congress recognizes with appreciation the increased attention that has been paid to the issue of reprisals and intimidation against individuals and groups on the grounds of their cooperation with the UN human rights system.”

“Important progress has already been made,” he said, recognizing how the UNHRC is already working to increase protection for rights activists in occupied territories. “For example, progress by the Sub-Committee on Torture, in incorporating the reprisals issue into the work of the UN human rights system. A focal point would help to mainstream these efforts and could also coordinate with counterparts in the regional human rights systems, where the issue of reprisals is also a threat to their work.”

Ishtiyaq Hameed said that in occupied Kashmir, human rights defenders who cooperated with the UN mandate holders were facing the worst kind of reprisals. He mentioned the names of four Kashmiri human rights activists who are facing threats from the Indian army.

“The Government of India has denied the right to travel to human rights defenders, like Professor Hameeda Nayeem, Zamruda Habib and Parvez Imroz. On March 17, noted human rights activist, Muhammad Ahsan Untoo, was arrested by Indian police and detained arbitrarily,” he said. He maintained that despite threats from Indian army, Zamruda Habib managed to address a UNHRC panel in Geneva via video-link and gave an eyewitness account of human rights violations by Indian forces in occupied Kashmir.

In 2009, when 16-year-old Kashmiri girl, Aneesa Nabi, travelled to the UN Office in Geneva to lodge a complaint against the Indian army for killing her parents, her younger siblings in the occupied territory were threatened to stop her from reporting human rights abuses to the UN.

Kashmiri leader, Shameem Shawl, in her address to the Council while speaking on Minority rights said that minorities were not safe in India while in Kashmir those who wanted to work for the education of children were not allowed to carry out their activities freely. “The right to education is universal right but women human rights activists are not safe in presence of more than 7 lac armed Indian troops in occupied Kashmir. We urge this Council to save the life of defenders and minorities,” she added.

For more information, contact:
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