May 27, 2018
There has been a large coverage of Kashmir by the Indian media, which has been primarily distorted and contra- factual. IAPL therefore, decided to hold the fact finding focusing on the conditions and experiences of lawyers and functioning of the legal system, in the background of the conflict situation. A team of 15 lawyers, belonging from different regions of India, including Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana has come to Kashmir and conducted a fact finding from May 23 to May 27, 2018. During the course of fact finding, we visited and met Bar Associations of the Kashmir High Court, Baramulla, Handwara, Kupwara, Ganderbal, Budgam, Shopian, Islamabad (Anantnag), Pulwama, and Chairperson of SHRC. The team also interacted with local lawyers, activists, human rights defenders and victims of gross Human Rights violations in various districts. The final report will be prepared and released soon. Some of the preliminary findings of the fact finding are the following:-
(I) Lawyers in Kashmir are working in very difficult circumstances while trying to bring some semblance of the Rule of Law. We were shocked to find that apart from facing threats, intimidation, illegal detentions and arrests, many have been subject to torture and killings, while discharging their professional responsibilities.
(II) The Lawyers are exhausting all local remedies available to them in fighting this uphill battle and face little or no success. This is partly due to the interference by executive, police, administration, and armed forces in independent functioning of the judiciary, and also partly due to deliberate non-compliance of judicial orders.
(III) The extra-ordinary laws in force in J&K give immunity to perpetrators leading to a culture of Impunity, resulting in the collapse of the justice delivery system to victims of Human Rights violations.
Indian Association of Peoples Lawyer (IAPL), part of International Association of Peoples Lawyer was formed in year 2004 to uphold Justice, Equality, Human Rights and to fight against all undemocratic laws and procedures, not only in the courts but also through Fact-finding missions.
APDP (ASSOCIATION OF PARENTS OF DISAPPEARED PERSONS) AND IAPL ON THE EVE OF INTERNATIONAL WEEK OF THE DISAPPEARED-2018, REMEMBERS DISAPPEARED PERSONS OF J&K
27th May 2018
The last week of May every year is recognized internationally as the International Week of the Disappeared. This week provides an opportunity to remember the disappeared, and acknowledge the struggle of their families. It is also an occasion to recommit to the fundamental right not to be subjected to enforced disappearances, the right to know the truth and the right to justice and reparation. It is an occasion to continue to demand that governments sign, ratify and implement the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and criminalize the practice of enforced disappearances.
Today on eve of the International Week of the Disappeared Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons in association with IAPL – Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) underlines that Indian State continues to remain in denial of the ongoing international movement against enforced disappearances. Following the commission of widespread and systematic enforced disappearances of more than 8000 persons in Jammu and Kashmir, the government has chosen to protect itself and its own forces by disregarding the very existence of the crime itself. Concerning enforced disappearances, the government has not ensured an alternative independent investigative mechanism and has instead preferred to subject the victims to a system that continues to promote impunity. Moreover, despite repeated recommendations from the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) for a comprehensive forensic investigation into 7000+ unknown, unmarked and mass graves, found across various districts of Jammu and Kashmir, the government seems to be unwilling to initiate any such effective inquiry.
Despite a consistent campaign by the parents and relatives of disappeared persons, no action has been taken. The government has failed to investigate enforced disappearances, bring the perpetrators to justice and provide reparations to the families. The government so far has been disinclined to set up a Commission of Inquiry which has been a recurrent demand of APDP. Due to the continued denial, the families of disappeared particularly half widows and their children continues to suffer endlessly.
Since the Indian government and governments of J&K have ignored the plight of two hundred thousand relatives of the disappeared people, therefore it is the responsibility of Indian civil society as well as international community to intervene and hold the government of India, a claimant for permanent seat in the UN Security Council, accountable for more than 8000 enforced disappearances and existence of 7000 unknown, unmarked and mass graves in J&K.
APDP together with IAPL would like to call upon the government of India to act as per principles of law and justice, enquire into all the cases of enforced disappearances, ensure speedy justice to victims and prosecute the perpetrators of enforced disappearances. The association on the eve of the International week of disappeared once again pledges to continue its struggle and commemoration of the disappeared loved ones until the truth is revealed and justice delivered.
Spokesperson APDP Kashmir