Sunday, September 26, 2021

Comms blackout in occupied Kashmir, against freedom of expression: David Kaye

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The United Nations special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye has said that the current situation in occupied Kashmir is deeply disturbing, Radio Pakistan reported.

David Kaye in an interview with New Delhi-based monthly magazine The Carvan said that the Indian authorities have repeatedly over the last several years shut down the internet in occupied Kashmir, particularly around times of protests.

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He said the shutting down of internet and the current situation is really quite draconian.

He said shutting down all communication is a disproportionate interference with the freedom of expression of people in Kashmir.

To a query, David Kaye said that it was important for the UN Security Council to go beyond closed-door meetings.

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He said that if it took its role as an international body to maintain international peace and security seriously, it should also recognize the attacks on the media, the people of Kashmir and on the freedom of expression in Kashmir.

He said that he would like to see the political bodies, including the Security Council and General Assembly, recognize that assaults on communications amount not only to a violation of human rights, but also potential threats to peace and security.

Referring to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1948, David Kaye said, the human rights law is binding on India just like all other member states of the UN.

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It requires the government to protect everyone’s right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers and through any media.

To a question about his request for an official visit to India to evaluate the nature of freedom of expression, he said, one of the regular responsibilities of any UN special rapporteur is to conduct visits to member countries of the UN.

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