May 31, 2013

Item 3:  Report of UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom
of peaceful assembly and of association

Friday, 31 May 2013, Geneva - During the interactive dialogue under item 3 on the Report
of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association
at the twenty-third session of the Human Rights Council, IHRAAM’s Permanent
Representative to the UN – Geneva and the Chairman of ICHR - Kashmir Project, Barrister
A. Majid Tramboo delivered a speech for the consideration of the Special Rapporteur on the
rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, the President of the UN Human
Rights Council, the UN High commissioner and the Member States of the UN. Barrister
Tramboo said the following:

“Madame Rapporteur,

International Human Rights Association for American Minorities (IHRAAM) would like to thank
Madame Rapporteur for her report, especially for her choice of missions. In this
"extraordinary year for human rights", broadly speaking, the office of High Commissioner
once again played a key role in upholding the universality of human rights.

The Special Rapporteur was informed during her mission to the United Kingdom and
Northern Ireland of the adverse impact that counter-terrorism measures have had on non-
profit organizations and the disproportionate impact on communities in the region.  The
counter-terrorism measures have allegedly been proscribed while there was reportedly no
proof that these organisations had been active in terrorist activities. Such measures have
constrained communities which have on occasion been afraid of expressing themselves

Regrettably, Madame Rapporteur, the discriminatory effects such measures have over
sectors of the population are not restrained to the countries addressed during your
missions. The Government of India has attempted to emphasize the normalcy of life in Indian
Held Kashmir: but instead Kashmir is a heavily militarized and occupied territory. The
existence and enforcement of draconian laws such as the highly criticized by human right’s
organisations Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), grants the army and paramilitary
forces sweeping powers; furthermore, due to the Government’s ineffective task in controlling
the Indian Army, there has been an unleashed reign of terror in the occupied territory,
undermining the right of the Kashmiris to express themselves without severe and unlawful

The Chair of APHC Dr. Mirwaiz Umar Faroq was denied to take out peaceful procession on
the annual death anniversary of his father Mirwaiz Molvi Mohammed Farooq and late Lone
just last week. This is a clear example how the leadership and the people of Kashmir are
denied their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.

It is, however, the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act the most comparable one to the
counter-terrorism measures in the UK and Northern Ireland. Nonetheless, whereas the
restrictions in the UK and N.I take many forms including the inability for Muslim communities
to open bank accounts, arbitrary closure of accounts, inordinate delays or termination of
transactions, in Indian Held Kashmir, Madame Rapporteur, the restrictions in fact provide a
cover to the state machinery for indiscriminate and unprovoked firing at peaceful and
unarmed demonstrations, extra judicial killings and the destruction of the property of
Kashmiris on suspicion; thus undermining their rights.

The Special Rapporteur reiterated that any restrictions on the right to freedom of
association must meet the standards set out in the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights. This includes any limitations imposed in the context of counter-terrorism
measures as elaborated by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of
human rights while countering terrorism. Since one of the missions of the Special
Rapporteur is to report on violations, wherever they may occur, of the rights to freedom of
peaceful assembly and of association, as well as discrimination, threats or use of violence,
harassment, persecution, intimidation or reprisals directed at persons exercising these
rights, and to draw the attention of the Council and the High Commissioner to situations of
particularly serious concern, IHRAAM wishes to endorse this statement by reporting and
condemning the disproportionate draconian laws India enforces in Kashmir.

Madame Rapporteur mentioned in the report that “A balance must be struck between the
burden placed on the individual whose rights are limited and the interest of the general
public in achieving the aim that is being protected”. In IHRAAM’s view, Madame, the interest
of the general public, when concerning Kashmir, is to be freed from laws deliberately
implemented with the purpose to deter Kashmiris exercise of the Article 21 of the ICCPR
which recognizes the right to freedom of peaceful assembly to be enjoyed by everyone.

Moreover, the assumption of terrorist activities based on general characteristics such as
cultural, ethnic or religion is not only disproportionate, but it constitutes discrimination and is
prohibited under international law.”
IHRAAM participates in the HRC's
scrutinizing state behavior in
relation to their legal human
rights obligations as signatories
to the international human rights