JEDDAH: The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has strongly condemned the incarceration of Asiya Andrabi, a Kashmiri activist and political leader, and her two female associates in an Indian jail.
The body said the charges, based on India’s controversial Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), were “concocted” and “baseless.”
According to media reports, Andrabi and her associates, like other political prisoners in Jammu and Kashmir, are being held without access to a free and fair trial and are subjected to physical and psychological torture and denied critical medical care, endangering their lives in contravention of international human rights and humanitarian laws.
Andrabi is the founder of one of the most influential women’s rights organizations in Jammu and Kashmir. She is widely respected as a voice of reason who has made many contributions toward women’s empowerment. Despite her advancing age, deteriorating health condition and the threat of coronavirus, she is being held on fabricated charges and denied due process. The IPHRC said the situation was “deeply concerning.”
The commission reiterated its strong concerns over growing incidents of illegal detention of human rights and political activists, and members of civil society and media by the Indian security forces. The body said “draconian” laws such as the Armed Special Forces Power Act (AFSPA), Public Safety Act (PSA) and the UAPA form the basis of many of the detentions.
In a report from March 2017 on the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the IPHRC said the laws were “sources of impunity” used by the Indian security forces to carry out “blatant human rights violations against innocent Kashmiris to silence their voices and their inalienable right to self-determination.”
The IPHRC urged the UN, OIC member states and the international human rights community to demand the immediate release of Andrabi, her associates and all other political prisoners being held under AFSPA, PSA and UAPA laws. The body also called for activists to be granted free and fair trials, an annulment of all discriminatory laws and a restoration of fundamental freedoms for Kashmiris.
It also stressed the need for UN/OIC fact-finding missions and Indian cooperation in the establishment of an inquiry under UN auspices. The commission called on the Indian government to halt its “gross and systematic human rights violations.”
The IPHRC called for UN Security Council and OIC resolutions to allow Kashmiris the right to exercise their self-determination.