Press Release

OHCHR calls for restraint in
Indian-administered Kashmir
27 August 2008

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is concerned about the recent violent protests in Indian-administered Kashmir that have reportedly led to civilian casualties as well as restrictions to the right to freedom of assembly and expression.

OHCHR calls on the Indian authorities and in particular security forces to respect the right to freedom of assembly and expression, and comply with international human rights principles in controlling the demonstrators. The use of force should be proportionate to the threat posed and firearms must only be used in dispersing a violent assembly to protect individuals against an imminent threat of death or serious injury. The Acting High Commissioner calls for thorough and independent investigations into all killings that have occurred so far.

OHCHR also calls on the demonstrators to protest using peaceful means only. Leaders of the different protesting groups have a responsibility to ensure that demonstrations are peaceful and that the demonstrators are not carrying sticks, guns or other weapons and refrain from intimidation. Political actors are urged to take all necessary protection measures to avoid exposing people under 18, including young children, to violence and to manipulation for political ends.