The withdrawal of Riz Ahmed, Jameela Jamil, and Alaa Murabit from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Goalkeepers Award ceremony scheduled for later this month is a tremendous victory for Kashmiris, Indians and people of conscience everywhere standing up to the scourge of right wing populism in India.
Stand With Kashmir applauds the bold stances by Ahmed, Jamil, and Murabit and calls upon the other five speakers, including Jacinda Ardern, the PM of New Zealand, Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF, Sona Jobarteh, a Musician, Amina J Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN and Tumelo Mothotoane, a Media entrepreneur, to withdraw from the awards ceremony in solidarity with the people of Kashmir and all those resisting the right-wing Hindu nationalist government of Narendra Modi .
Ahmed, Jamil, and Murabit join Nobel Peace Prize laureates Mairead Maguire (1976) Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011), and Shirin Ebadi, (2003) who have made a collective call for the Foundation to rescind the award. They also join a call from South Asians Americans and allies in philanthropy for the Gates Foundation to rescind the award.
The Gates Foundation announced on September 3 that it would be awarding Indian PM Narendra Modi for his efforts to build toilets and end open defecation in India.
Given the events in Kashmir and Assam over the past month, the clampdown on freedom of expression, the media and dissent in India, it is inconceivable that the Gates Foundation would choose this moment to venerate a leader that continues to drag India down the path of authoritarianism. To do so whitewashes Modi’s crimes and sends a dangerous message to authoritarian rulers worldwide.
Stand With Kashmir reiterates it’s call to Gates to do the right thing, and rescind the award.
Despite efforts to suppress news and information from Kashmir, the reality of India’s brutal occupation continue to draw outrage and concern among America’s politicians.
A growing number of American politicians, including Bernie Sanders, Beto O’ Rourke, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Andy Levin, Rep. Ted Lieu, Rep. Rashid Tlaib and Rep Don Beyer issued statements expressing concern about the situation in Kashmir. Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Asia, Brad Sherman, also recently announced an upcoming Congressional hearing that will address human rights violations in Kashmir.
More than 7 million people in Kashmir have been under siege for over 40 days.
On the evening of 4 August 2019, the Indian government disconnected telephone and internet services, shut down local media, restricted the movement of residents, arrested and detained at least 3,000 people and militarized entire neighbourhoods.
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.
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