OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada has been following the situation in Jammu and Kashmir (J & K) with increasing concern. In early August, the government of India revoked the special constitutional status of J & K. This decision, combined with the imposition of a curfew and its demotion from a state to Union Territory, has dramatically escalated tensions in J & K.
The Green Party takes note of reports of a significant communications blackout in J & K, including the cut-off of internet access, mobile phone networks, and cable and Kashmiri television channels. This communications blackout, as well as restrictions on freedom of movement and peaceful assembly, are being enforced by a massive concentration of troops in a manner that the United Nations says is “intrinsically disproportionate” and has significantly increased the risk of conflict with Pakistan.
“We are alarmed by the continued arrests of political figures, journalists, human rights defenders, and protesters," said Annamie Paul, International Affairs Critic for the Green Party. “The Green Party of Canada supports the right to peaceful assembly and we remind the authorities of their obligation to respect the right to peaceful expression. We strongly condemn the arbitrary and unlawful arrest of human rights defenders and protesters. We call on the Indian authorities to exercise maximum restraint and to actively work to prevent any escalation in violence or instability in J & K.”
The United Nations has reminded parties of the Simla Agreement, which states that the final status of Jammu and Kashmir is to be settled by peaceful means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. “Whenever possible, dialogue between parties should be the first option in resolving conflict. We call on all parties to make meaningful effort to engage in peaceful, inclusive dialogue as the preferred means of de-escalating and resolving the current situation.”
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