Jeddah 14th August 2019: The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) joins the international community in strongly condemning the ongoing security lockdown/curfews and communications blackout in the IOK by the Indian occupation forces, which remained in place even during the festive period of Eid ul Adha. The local and international media have widely reported the fact that Kashmiris were prevented from offering the congregational Eid prayers at Srinagar’s historical Jama Masjid (main mosque) and other mosques for fear of protests against the government.
These arbitrary and unjustified administrative measures have prevented Kashmiris from performing their religious rites, a blatant violation of the right to freedom of religion, which includes right to manifest one’s religion in teaching, practice, worship and observance, guaranteed in article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief and other international human rights instruments.
The Commission is further appalled by the worsening humanitarian situation arising due to long curfews and closure of economic and social activities, which are causing severe hardships for the patients to reach hospitals and general population to replenish food and fuel supplies. These and other similar restrictions, constitute collective punishment of the populace and a grave violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, hence deplorable and detestable.
While welcoming the recent statement of the UN Secretary General on the ongoing situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir IPHRC calls upon him and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently intervene to urge the Government of India to: (a) immediately lift the curfew in IOK and restore fundamental freedoms and liberties of the Kashmiris; (b) release all political leaders and other political prisoners; (c) respect their right to peaceful assembly, protest and movement; (d) remove the information and communication blackout and allow freedom of expression and press ensuring reporting of facts; (e) avoid resorting to violent means including use of any forms of lethal weapons against unarmed demonstrators; (f) bring an end to the economic blockade; and (g) withdraw its security forces from Kashmiri towns and villages.
Last but not the least, the IPHRC reiterates its fullest support to the call made by the UN High Commissioner for establishing an international fact-finding mission to Jammu and Kashmir, under UN auspices, to independently ascertain and report on the human rights situation on ground.