On Thursday, November 14th, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission is hosting a delegation of expert witnesses including Kashmiri-Americans who will speak about human rights abuses that have been committed at the hands of Indian armed forces in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (“Kashmir”).
The panel will address abuses that have occurred since the Indian government-imposed blockade on August 5, 2019 and human rights violations that have preceded the blockade and the rise of ethnonationalism and the ensuing public violence leading to the lynchings of minorities in India.
Stand With Kashmir (SWK) has been tracking and documenting human rights violations since August 5th. These include: torture; inability for Kashmiri residents to receive urgent medical care because of restrictions imposed by the blockade, a widescale internet and communications blackout; and the arbitrary arrests and detention of civilians including children.
The deliberate blackout of international media and independent observers and the restrictions imposed on U.S. government officials including Senator Van Hollen, from entering Kashmir, has made investigations into allegations of human rights abuses nearly impossible.
Expert witnesses on the panels include:
- Haley Duschinski– Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Law, Justice and Culture, Ohio University. Dr. Duchinski is a legal and political anthropologist with research specializations in violence, war, and power; law and society; human rights, militarization and impunity; and law and memory in Kashmir.
- Sehla Ashai– Kashmiri American attorney and human rights activist, with a special focus on immigration, racial/religious discrimination, and women’s rights. Ms. Ashai received the Henry Bates and Clara Belfield Fellowship from the University of Michigan Law School in 2005 to study the state subjects law of Kashmir.
- Yousra Fazili — Kashmiri American human rights attorney and a special policy advisor on the Middle East and North Africa to various U.S. government agencies in Washington, DC. Ms. Fazili is an independent consultant to organizations as diverse as the US Institute for Peace, Stanford Design School, and the United Nations.
- Arjun S. Sethi — Civil rights lawyer and Adjunct Professor at Georgetown Law. Mr. Sethi works closely with Muslim, Arab, South Asian, and Sikh communities and is an expert in policing, the war on terror, and racial and religious profiling.
- John Sifton — Asia Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch. Mr. Sifton works on South and Southeast Asia, East Asia, the Middle East, and East Africa.
“This hearing will cast a bright light on the secretive and shadowy actions that the Indian government has undertaken in Kashmir since August 5 to effect demographic change and accelerate ethnic cleansing of indigenous Kashmiris” said a spokesperson for SWK.
“As one of America’s most important trade partners and the world’s largest democracy, it is critical that our elected officials stand up for America’s commitment to human rights and the rule of law, which India is blatantly violating as widely reported by credible media reports while ignoring calls for accountability and justice for the people of Kashmir.”
With over 900,000 armed troops in the region, Kashmir is the most militarized place on earth. To date, between 70,000–100,000 people have been killed; 10,000 have been disappeared; and more than 6,000 are believed to have been killed and buried in unmarked graves. These large-scale human rights abuses by the Indian military have gone unpunished.
Stand with Kashmir is a Kashmiri diaspora-led international solidarity movement that seeks to end the Indian occupation and support the right to self-determination for the people of Kashmir.