Srinagar – Rights activists and civil society members here on Sunday urged India to honour its commitments to international conventions on human rights, expressing concern at security agencies enjoying impunity over rampant abuse. At a two-day workshop on Human Rights and Law participants urged for a joint strategy to curb violations, and called for lifting laws like the Public Safety Act (PSA) and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). The workshop, attended by Supreme Court lawyer and founder president of Human Rights Law Network Colin Gonsalves, advocate Nadeem Qadiri, K-CSDS chief Prof Hameeda Nayeem, advocate Syed Faisal Qadiri and others, also focussed on the rising graph of corruption in Jammu and Kashmir, violence against women, and rehabilitation of victims of violence. In a round-table discussion, participants said that thousands of people habd been lkillled in the past 22 years of turmoil which had torn apart the social fabric of the valley, disrupted the education system and left the economic and healthcare sectors in shambles. During the turmoil, the armed forces were equipped with special powers, even when the Disturbed Areas Act and the Public Safety Act were brought into play, resulting in widespread human rights violations by forces personnel, speakers said. People had to face violence, enforced disappearances, extra-judicial executions, and the forces used HR violations as a weapon, they said. The speakers regretted that forces personnel involved in such violations were not prosecuted under law, leading to a rising graph of HR abuse. India is a signatory to international conventions upholding human rights and dignity, and has committed itself not commit violations anywhere on its territory, they said. Speakers also expressed the need to mobilise public opinion on violence against women and children. Observer News Service
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