The India branch of Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] temporarily closed its office Wednesday after the organization was accused of sedition and anti-India sentiments. The accusations arose after AI promoted a human rights seminar in Kashmir, focusing on alleged human rights abuses carried out by the Indian security forces. AI responded [press release] to the accusations by stating that “[the accusations] are preventing the families of victims of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir from having their stories heard. And preventing civil society organisations from enabling these families to exercise their constitutional right to justice.”
Kashmir has been a subject of international concern for several month. Also Wednesday UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [JURIST report] expressed his concerns [press release] regarding Indian and Pakistani authorities refusing to allow the Human Rights Council access to Kashmir. In July Pakistani Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz [official profile] announced [press release] his country’s intention to ask the UN Human Rights Council to send a fact-finding mission to Kashmir following recent civil unrest in the disputed region. Pakistan accused [JURIST report] India of human rights violations after a clash between the Indian army and pro-independence rebels, which led to the death of militant commander Burhan Wani of the group Hizbul Mujahideen [official website]. Continued unrest following the clash preceded the use of force on which Pakistan now seeks Human Rights Council action.