On September 16 at 12:30 am, police officers came to Khurram Parvez’s home in Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir, arrested him without presenting a warrant, and took him to the Kothi Bagh police station, where he remains in arbitrary detention. He has not been allowed access to a lawyer, and the police have provided no formal document of arrest or reason for his detention.
The evening prior his arrest, a group of police personnel headed by the Kothi Bagh Station House Officer came to Mr. Parvez’s home and asked for him. Mr. Parvez was not at home at the time, but spoke to the Officer by telephone and was informed that the Superintendent of Police, Sheikh Faisal, wished to meet him. Mr. Parvez agreed to meet with the Superintendent the following day. He was nevertheless arrested without explanation several hours later after arriving at his home.
Mr. Parvez’s arrest comes two days after he was stopped at the New Delhi airport by immigration authorities and prevented from travelling to Geneva to attend the ongoing session of the United Nations Human Rights Council . The travel ban and arbitrary detention of Mr. Parvez are the latest examples of the Indian government’s attempts to silence human rights defenders and prevent the spread of information on the extremely concerning human rights violations taking place in Jammu and Kashmir. Numerous lawyers and human rights defenders have been arbitrarily detained , and the authorities continue to impose a curfew and deny access to United Nations observers . Given this ongoing repression and crackdown in Jammu and Kashmir, obtaining information on Mr. Parvez’s current situation is proving very difficult, and there is good reason for concern regarding his well-being in police custody.
Mr. Parvez is the Chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and Program Coordinator of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). Mr. Parvez has consistently highlighted violations of human rights taking place in India, notably in Jammu and Kashmir, and was part of the research group that published a report in December 2009 on the discovery of thousands of unmarked graves in Kashmir.
Our organisations strongly condemn the escalating repression of Mr. Parvez, and call on the Indian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him, and to allow him to continue to conduct his legitimate human rights work without hindrance or reprisal.
We demand an end to the harassment against all human rights defenders in India, and call on the international community, notably the other States sitting alongside India as members of the UN Human Rights Council, to insist that India comply with its human rights obligations, notably the provisions of the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, which underscores the right of human rights defenders to freely and peacefully engage in their work and be protected from reprisals for having exercised this right.
For more information, please contact:
AFAD: Mary Aileen D. Bacalso: +63 2 456 6434
AHRC: Md. Ashrafuzzaman: +41 766 382 659 / +852 607 32 807
FIDH: Arthur Manet / Audrey Couprie: + 33143552518
FORUM-ASIA: Anjuman Ara Begum: +977 982 381 5517
HRDA: Mathew Jacob: +91 886 011 0520
ICAED: Mary Aileen D. Bacalso: +63 917 792 4058
Odhikar: Adilur Rahman Khan: + 880 29 88 85 87
OMCT: Delphine Reculeau: +41 22 809 49 34