• Arrests of peaceful protesters violate India’s obligations under international law: Amnesty

    Counterview Representative

    December 19, 2019

    Responding to the "brutal crackdown" on student protests across the country, protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), executive director of the Amnesty India Avinash Kumar has said that "students have the right to protest" and "violence against peacefully protesting students cannot under any circumstance be justified."

    Insisting that allegations that the police "brutally beat up and sexually harassed students in Jamia Millia Islamia must be investigated and those suspected of being responsible must be prosecuted", Amnesty said, "Student protestors in the Aligarh Muslim University were also allegedly beaten up."


    Kumar said, quoting media reports that "more than 100 students were injured and the police blocked ambulances from going inside the university to help the wounded students", pointing out, "Article 19 of the Constitution of India guarantees the right to freedom of speech and expression and freedom of peaceful assembly.”


    “Arrests of peaceful protesters violate India’s obligations under international law, specifically the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to respect and protect the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, set out in Article 19 and Article 21 of that treaty", Kumar claimed.


    The influential human rights group, with headquarters in UK, urged the Government of India and state governments should "respect the right to dissent by peaceful protesters and review their approach in policing the protests in order to de-escalate the situation and prevent more lives being put at risk."


    He added, "Police should only use lethal force in response to an imminent threat of death or serious injury, and only as a last resort.”


    First published in Counterview.

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