Ottawa (September 20, 2016): The World Sikh Organization of Canada expresses its concern at the detention of Kashmiri human rights activist Khurram Parvez. Parvez was arrested one day before he was scheduled to travel to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. (Geneva) where he was to raise concerns about Indian security forces' human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir. On Tuesday, a local court in Srinagar set aside his detention order and issued directions for his immediate release, however, police have refused to free him.
The WSO calls on Indian authorities to follow the rule of law and immediately release Parvez.
Parvez serves as chair of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and program coordinator of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). He has documented cases of enforced disappearances and unmarked graves of civilians.
WSO President Mukhbir Singh said today, "we call on government authorities to immediately release Khurram Parvez. Freedom of speech, freedom of movement and freedom of association are fundamental human rights; there is no clear reason why Parvez has been deprived of these rights. For Sikhs, this case draws some alarming parallels to the case of Jaswant Singh Khalra who travelled abroad, including to Canada, to speak about human rights violations and disappearances in Punjab but was then himself disappeared by security forces upon his return in 1995. Rather than trying prevent Parvez from speaking about human rights issues in Jammu and Kashmir, the Government of India must take serious action to ensure security forces immediately halt the use of torture and enforced disappearances and ensure guilty officials are prosecuted."
The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.