TODAY -
Amnesty International USA draws Obama's attention in repealing AFSPA
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, November 19 2009: Amnesty International, a human right body based in USA has drown the attention of the US President, Barack Obama in pressing India for repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in Manipur and other parts of the North Eastern States and Kashmir where the act is imposed.

Executive Director, Larry Cox drew the attention of the US President to convince India ensure that any replacement act is in line with international human rights standards during his upcoming meeting with the Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohon Singh and to press him to make substantive improvements.

Amnesty International USA in a letter written to the President Barack Obama on Wednesday which also available on the website of the body, action for human rights, hope for humanity stated that Dr Manmohon Singh will be the first leader to receive a state visit at the White House after Barack Obama became the President of USA.

"While you are honouring him with this state visit, Amnesty International urges you not to forget the plight of women, men and children who are facing numerous human rights abuses in India and to make public statements emphasizing that human rights are central to US-India relations," he wrote.

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 has remained in effect in "disturbed areas," including Kashmir and large parts of the northeastern states of India for over forty years.

This act is a major contributor to mass human rights abuses in these areas of India.

This law protects Indian security forces from prosecution by requiring permission to prosecute from India's Central Government--permission which is rarely given.

As a result, security forces often take the law into their own hands and commit mass human rights abuses against the civilians.

This law has facilitated grave human rights abuses, including "disappearances," rapes, extrajudicial executions, and deaths resulting from torture, the latter noted.

Northeastern States of India is one of the areas "hidden" from international attention is the region of northeast India.

Numerous abuses are taking place in this area, largely facilitated by the above-mentioned Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958.Security forces kill, rape, "disappear" and commit other gross human rights abuses with virtual impunity.

End impunity in Manipur and Kashmir and make armed forces personnel accountable for human rights violations.

In particular repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in Manipur and other parts of the North Eastern States and Kashmir where imposed.

Ensure that any replacement act is in line with international human rights standards, the executive director insisted.

The Indian side of Kashmir is another area where Indian Security forces commit mass human rights abuses with impunity.

Once again, the abuses are facilitated by the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 and other similar laws.

The civilian population of Kashmir has paid a high price for the conflict.

Thousands have disappeared over the years.

In the letter, the Amnesty International also some of the specific contexts in which mass abuses were or continue to be committed in India like massacred of over 3,000 Sikhs when the governing Congress Party incited mob violence targeting Sikh civilians in reaction to the 1984 assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, mass killing of over 2,000 Muslims in 2002 in Gujarat as a reaction to a train fire that killed 59 Hindus, abuses to the Adivashis.


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