Secretary-General of the UN António Guterres, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect Karen Smith, UN Security Council

Courtesy Bilal Bahadur

He’s not a terrorist, he’s a human rights defender.” - Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders

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.” - Amnesty International

Indian authorities arrested Khurram Parvez on November 22, 2021. Parvez is a widely respected human rights defender. For defending human rights, the Indian state has long persecuted him and is now pretextually prosecuting him under counter-terror laws. His most recent arrest represents an escalation of India’s campaign to suppress the democratic and human rights of disfavored groups and ensure impunity for state violations.

Parvez is the Program Coordinator of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and Chairman of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances. He has been a respected global human rights advocate for over two decades, including in India, Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan, East Timor, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. His documentation and advocacy work has focused on torture, extrajudicial killings, involuntary disappearances and landmine removal. Both he and the organizations he leads have been recognized for their work, including through the Reebok Human Rights Award and the Rafto Prize.

In Jammu and Kashmir, victims generally avoid reporting violations out of fear of reprisals. With the repeated seizure of records from civil society organizations (including JKCCS) and the arrest, assault and intimidation of activists (including Parvez), victims face greater risk of reprisals and less hope for accountability. In Kashmir, where there is no representative governance, no international access, no free speech, no free assembly and no access to justice, both journalism and human rights work are now effectively dead.

Parvez’s arrest furthers the Indian state’s broad assault on civil society. As India’s national security adviser recently acknowledged, the Indian state is at war with civil society. Through statutes like the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, the Indian state has expanded its arsenal of lawless laws in Jammu and Kashmir and ramped up its war against dissenting voices, civil society and marginalized groups.


Sponsors: Al-Haadi Musalla, Canadian Foreign Policy Institute, Canadians for Peace and Justice for Kashmir, Ensaaf, FOSNA (Friends of Sabeel North America), Global Peace Alliance Society, Green Left Canada, International Commission for Dalit Rights, International Solidarity for Academic Freedom in India (InSAF India), Just Peace Advocates/Mouvement Pour Une Paix Juste, Justice For All, Kashmir Institue of International Relation (KIIR), Kashmir Law and Justice Project, Kashmir Scholars Consultative and Action Network, Lausan Collective (Hong Kong), Let Kashmir Decide, MiVolunteer (Mississauga and GTA Relief Initiative Inc.), Oakville Palestinian Rights Association, Palestinian and Jewish Unity, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Regina Peace Council, Socialist Action / Ligue pour l'Action socialiste, StandWithKashmir, Students Against Hindutva Ideology,University Network for Human Rights

To: Secretary-General of the UN António Guterres, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect Karen Smith, UN Security Council
From: [Your Name]

We, the undersigned, demand that the international community comply with international law and common decency by:

* Causing India to immediately and unconditionally release Khurram Parvez

* Causing India to immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience

* Causing India to uphold the rule of law – transparent accountability under laws consistent with international human rights that are equally, fairly and consistently enforced – in Jammu and Kashmir and India

* Ensuring that Indian forces do not commit reprisals against victims in Jammu and Kashmir

* Causing India to fulfill its obligations under international law, including by facilitating transparent accountability for violations that have occurred in Jammu and Kashmir and providing reparations for those violations

* Cooperating to effectuate the realization of the people of Jammu and Kashmir's right to self-determination

* Ceasing to facilitate India’s violations of international law in Jammu and Kashmir, including through failing to hold India to account, supplying India arms, sharing intelligence with India, normalizing India politically and normalizing India through trade