South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights defenders, joins the worldwide condemnation of the arbitrary detention of prominent Kashmiri Human Rights Defender Khurram Parvez by the Indian authorities. Parvez is the Programme Coordinator of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and Chairman of the Board of the Asian Federation against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD).
Parvez was arrested on 22nd November 2021 following raids on his house and office in Srinagar. He was arrested related to a case registered on 08 October 2020 under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA), pertaining to criminal conspiracy and illegal money transfer for terror activities. In 2016, Parvez was prevented from boarding a flight to Geneva to attend the Human Rights Council and was arrested days later but released after 76 days due to lack of any evidence.
SAHR is deeply concerned at the ongoing use of anti- terrorism and national security laws to harass and criminalise the work of human rights defenders in India.
SAHR calls for the immediate release of Khurram Parvez and an end to the ongoing harassment and targeting of human rights defenders. SAHR urges the Government of India to demonstrate its commitment to the rule of law and human rights and to ensure an open, fair, and secure environment for human rights work that is expected in a democracy and is enshrined in the constitution of the country.
On behalf of the members of South Asians for Human Rights,
Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy
Dr. Roshmi Goswami