Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) on Monday announced that the incarcerated Kashmir-based human rights defender Khurram Parvez has been re-elected as the chairperson for the third time.
The federation of human rights organizations working directly on the issue of involuntary disappearances in Asia said that Parvez ran unopposed and was unanimously elected.
“We miss Khurram’s presence and wise words at this time and hope to have him with us again soon,” the federation said in a statement.
The Federation was established based on the common phenomena of enforced or involuntary disappearances in many Asian countries and the imperative of regional and international solidarity in order to strongly respond to the problem.
On November 22 this year, the National Investigation Agency of India raided Khurram’s house and took his phone, laptop, and books from his study, and later arrested him.
After his formal arrest, criticism from across the world including, The Rafto Foundation, The United Nations Special Rapporteur, Amnesty International, and The World Organization Against Torture, based in Geneva, poured in.
Amnesty International, referring to Khurram’s arrest, said that the Indian authorities have misused the “anti-terror law”.
“I’m hearing disturbing reports that Khurram Parvez was arrested on November 22 in Kashmir and is at risk of being charged by authorities in India with terrorism-related crimes. He’s not a terrorist, he’s a human rights defender,” Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, said in a tweet.
The Rafto Foundation, a body working for the global promotion of human rights released a statement which demanded, “immediately release Mr. Parvez,” who was working as programme coordinator of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and Chairman of the Board of Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD).
“We observe with regret that the Indian government intimidates citizens working to secure the values and norms enshrined both in the Constitution of India and in international treaties ratified by the government itself. We appeal to Indian authorities to respect Mr. Parvez’s habeas corpus rights and release him from detention without delay,” Jostein Hole Kobbeltvedt, Director of the Rafto Foundation, said in a statement.