Press Release for 10th December, 2017

International Human Rights Day is observed every year on the 10th of December, across the world. It marks the commemoration of the day when the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights along with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights set out the civil, political, cultural, economic and social rights which are inalienable and unconditional. This was done in the event of decolonisation happening in the developing world for people, to assure them their right to self determination.

December 10th also coincides with the monthly sit-in, that APDP conducts on 10th of every month for remembering our disappeared, to find their whereabouts and seek justice for them and their families. APDP on this day reiterates its demand for setting up an independent judicial commission for investigating into the cases of Enforced Disappearances and of ratifying the International Convention of Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances and the Convention against Torture.

The enforced disappearance at the hands of the Indian forces have not stopped the most recent case that has been reported is of Manzoor Ahmed Khan, a daily wage labourer, from the village Devar, Lolab, in district Kupwara. The family of Manzoor Ahmed and the witness testified that the victim was abducted on 31 August, 2017, by the personal of Indian Army belonging to 27 RR stationed at Trehmukh, Devar, Lolab, and Kupwara. The family later filed an FIR in the Lalpora Police station. The family has also filed a Heabus Corpus petition before the High Court. The High court issued the notice to the Indian army and asked to respond within a week. As we have experienced in context of other cases in the past the Indian army denied its involvement in Manzoor’s abduction and subsequent custody. APDP demands that Indian Army should be held accountable and we demand the return of Manzoor to his family.

APDP also reiterates its demand for an independent investigation into the excesses that Armed forces indulged in, during the uprising of 2016 and prosecute those found guilty. We also demand that Indian State should allow unconditional access to UNHRC and Special Rapporteurs to Kashmir. We once again salute the resilience and strength of the families of the disappeared and of those who have suffered state violence since last 27 years.

Militarization of Kashmir to crush the 1989 uprising led to gross human rights violations in the region. Since then, we have been counting our disappeared, killed, raped, and tortured and the ones who have been blinded in recent years. For the state it is collateral damage but for us it is entire generations lost. This has been further amplified and encouraged by the perpetual use of draconian legislations like Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1990 and Public Safety Act, 1978, which has spawned a culture of impunity and utter lawlessness, with complete disregard for the rule of law. All the basic fundamental rights remain suspended, as Kashmir continues to remain in a permanent State of Exception. We stand in solidarity with the families of the victims of the state’s brutal violence, and with the families whose dear ones were killed by the state forces in last three decades.

In the last few weeks, the state continuing its policy to intimidate and use of brutal violence, many Kashmiri political prisoners were brutally tortured in Tihar jail and few days ago, the state forces set on fire the property of the civilian population in the Hajin town of Bandipora. APDP condemns such attacks and presses upon the world community to notice these human rights violations and pressurize the Indian state to immediately stop such acts.

On the 10th of December, APDP also announces publication of its annual calendar for the year 2018. Like last year we are sharing the stories of twelve victims and their families. For the State and its agencies victims of enforced disappearances are just statistical numbers. For us they are people who have families, who have friends and other loved ones. State and its instruments tend to erase the public memory of the disappeared people. Through this calendar we are trying to sustain the memory of our loss. We request friends and other co-travellers of APDP to help us in our fight against forgetfulness by supporting the publication of the calendars.

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