4th January 2021, Islamabad – Federal Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari, held a press conference today with the family members of imprisoned freedom fighter, Asiya Andrabi. The Minister met with Asiya’s family upon their request, earlier today. The Minister has taken note of the urgency of this matter, which signifies serious and continual human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK).
Dr Mazari informed the media that India under the Modi Government has continued and expanded violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. She pointed out that under Geneva Convention IV, Article 49, it is prohibited to transfer an individual or group of “protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the occupying power… regardless of their motive.”
In complete violation, India has breached Article 49 multiple times by imprisoning Dr Ashiq Hussain Faktoo (the longest serving political prisoner), Asiya Andrabi and other Kashmiri leaders in Kashmiri prisons, particularly the notorious Tihar Jail. This includes Syed Ali Gilani, Shabir Ahmed Shah, Ashraf Sehrani, Dr Fayyaz, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Malik and Musarrat Alam Bhat. Presently Fehmida Sufi and Naheeda Nasreen are in Rihar Jail along with Asiya Andrabi. The detainment of these prisoners is also a war crime under Article 82 (2b, VIII) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), read with Article 143 of Geneva Convention IV.
Moreover, India is also in breach of Article 76 of the 4th Geneva Convention which stipulates that detained prisoners shall have the right to be visited by delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Article 76 further stipulates that women shall be confined in separate quarters and shall be under the direct supervision of women.
The Minister duly pointed out that the Indian Supreme Court in a judgement in November 2012 defined life imprisonment as “till death”, a precedent they are using this to imprison Asiya for life. The judgement is expected between the 14th and 18th of January. This is nothing short of judicial murder.
The Minister called upon the United Nations, International Human Rights Agencies including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as women organisations including the International Women Caucuses to take action on this issue.
The Press Conference heard direct testimonials from Asiya’s family members. The silence of the International Community in response to the continual violations of International Human Rights Law and Humanitarian Law by the Indian Government is alarming, particularly with regards to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) which was endorsed by all member states of the United Nations at the 2005 World Summit. It is crucial that the International Community takes note of the urgency of this matter, before the court gives its verdict.