30 November 2021
(Geneva, 30 November) – The International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition is calling for the immediate release of campaign member Khurram Parvez – mine ban advocate, landmine survivor, and human rights defender – detained by Indian authorities on 22 November.
Investigators from India’s National Intelligence Agency (NIA), accompanied by para-military forces, broke into Mr. Parvez’s home on 22 November, when he, his wife and two children were asleep. Following a four-hour search of the home, agents detained Khurram for “routine questioning”. That evening Mr. Parvez’s family was informed he was under arrest and would be transferred to New Delhi.
The police have reportedly charged Khurram under various sections of the colonial era “Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act”. ICBL-CMC joins the strong public outcry against Mr. Parvez’s arrest – as detailed in the New York Times – which appears to be in response to his work as a human rights advocate. "He is not a terrorist, he is a human rights defender" said United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Mary Lawlor.
“The arrest of Kashmiri activist Khurram Parvez is yet another example of how anti-terror laws are being misused to criminalize human rights work,” said Amnesty International in a 23 November twitter message.
Khurram Parvez is a well known human rights campaigner in Jammu & Kashmir State. He received the Rebook Human Rights Award in 2004. The activist-scholar is a recipient of the Chevening Fellowship at the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom. In 2006, he lost his leg in a landmine incident while monitoring an election in Kashmir. In 2007, as part of an ICBL delegation, he successfully advocated for a ban on antipersonnel landmine use by militant groups in Kashmir. Khurram Parvez is the Programme Coordinator for the Jammu & Kashmir Coalition for Civil Society (JKCCS). JKCCS is an information provider for the ICBL’s Landmine Monitor.
Previously in September 2016, Khurram was arrested after being prevented by Indian authorities from flying to Geneva. He was subsequently held in detention for 76 days during which the authorities refused to respond to court orders for his release. Subsequently, an Indian court ruled his detention “illegal” and an “abuse of power.”
“We are deeply concerned for the safety of ICBL-CMC member Khurram Parvez and disturbed by this attack on Indian civil society organizations”, said ICBL-CMC Director, Hector Guerra.
“We join the Indian People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and other human rights organizations, in calling on the Indian authorities to release Khurram immediately and establish an independent investigation on why he has been forcefully detained.”
The ICBL-CMC has also conveyed its concerns and messages through a letter to the Permanent Mission of India to United Nations in Geneva.