Parent and civil society groups seek UN access to Kashmir on International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Organizations representing torture victims are demanding the UN investigate the crimes committed by Indian authorities.

Srinagar, June 26, CNS: The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) observed the ‘International Day in Support of Victims of Torture’ and renewed the determination to fight against the phenomenon of torture in Jammu and Kashmir. On this occasion, APDP and JKCCS drew attention to the report on Torture, released on May 20, 2019. The report brings focus on the systemic and systematic use of torture by the Indian State on the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

   As per a statement by The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons and Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, the use of torture has been widespread and indiscriminate in Jammu and Kashmir. Torture is an atrocious crime that has destroyed the lives of all those who have undergone it. Apart from damage to physical health, torture has long-lasting psychological effects and economic implications that disrupt the normal life of the victim. The most brutal techniques of torture listed in the Istanbul Protocol of UN-OHCHR have been used by the Indian armed forces against the people. The report highlights this based on a study of 432 testimonies.

The report points out that an inordinate number of victims of torture are civilians,  which include juveniles, women, students, journalists, political and human rights activists. Apart from this, collective punishments like cordon and search operations (CASOs) continue to be used unabated since 1990.

The report states that “Torture has been used by the Indian State in Kashmir as one of the most widely used instruments to exercise control and inflict physical and mental pain over a population that is fighting for their right to self-determination. It has been used to terrorize the entire population, intimidate them, interrogate them, coerce confessions, or punish them for being seen as sympathizers of the resistance movement.”

 “Torture continues unabated in Jammu and Kashmir with a very gruesome case reported on May 26, 2019, when a 14-year-old boy, Fazil Fayaz Malik and Hamidullah Sheikh from Dharmuna, Budgam were tortured by the Indian Army. Fazil received critical injuries on his head due to which, he was kept on ventilator for a number of days. He still continues to be under treatment.”

“APDP and JKCCS believe that those responsible for perpetrating torture need to be brought to justice and held accountably. India has signed the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) in 1997. In over two decades, the successive Indian governments have shown no urgency or interest in ratifying the convention to ensure that a domestic law criminalizing torture is passed. But the absence of domestic law does not absolve India since torture is a crime under the Customary International Law.”

“The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has stated that he has been denied access to the region despite repeated requests. APDP and JKCCS call for the ratification of the UNCAT and unconditional access be provided to the UN-OHCHR, all UN Special Rapporteurs and other Special Procedures to assess the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir.”

KashmirWatch/ CNS 

CNS reports from Indian occupied Kashmir