Communications curbs violating fundamental rights in IOK: UN expert
May 2, 2020 12:08 PM
A UN human rights expert has called the communications blockade imposed by India in occupied Kashmir as the “most prominent and long-term internet shutdown” in the world, saying it restricted expression and other fundamental rights, specially since the outbreak of coronavirus.
“In 2019, the government imposed what several mandate holders found to be ‘a form of collective punishment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, without even a pretext of a precipitating offence’,” David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, said in a report.
He was referring to the unleashing of tough measures by India on August 5, when New Delhi unlawfully annexed the disputed Kashmir region, reported KMS on Saturday.
“Early in 2020, the Supreme Court of India found that the Government must periodically justify its continuing actions in Kashmir, but even as of this writing, reporting suggests that people in Kashmir are only able to access limited Internet sites and with extremely limited speeds,” Kaye wrote.
“It has been reported by healthcare professionals in Kashmir that the limitations imposed by the government have made access to basic information difficult to obtain.”
The report, entitled: “Disease pandemics and the freedom of opinion and expression”, will be submitted to UN Human Rights Council.