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Wednesday Aug 28 2019
Web Desk

66 human, digital rights groups condemn internet blackout in Indian occupied Kashmir

Web Desk

At least 66 of Pakistani and international rights groups have endorsed a statement condemning the internet and communications blackout in Indian occupied Kashmir.

According to a Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) press release issued Wednesday, some 66 human rights, digital rights, women rights, and feminist groups have supported a statement condemning the communications blackout in the occupied valley.

The statement called out the Indian government for its blatant violation of the right to freedom of expression, access to information, movement and peaceful gatherings under a blanket network and internet shutdown in occupied Jammu and Kashmir since the evening of August 4.

It was highlighted that the right to access communication networks is an important part for exercising democratic and fundamental rights, which the people of Indian occupied Kashmir have been denied.

The statement condemned the ambiguous application of community guidelines and content regulation by social media companies such as Twitter, silencing criticism of the Indian government.

"We recognise that the current situation is not an aberration, it is rather part of a systematic effort by the BJP-led government to silence and exclude dissent from the region; the current internet and network shutdown is part of a larger pattern of regular shutdowns in the disputed region; in 2019 alone, 51 internet shutdowns have been imposed in occupied Jammu and Kashmir," the statement read.

The statement was endorsed by organisations such as Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell (AGHS), and the Digital Rights Foundation, as well as collectives such as Aurat March (Lahore and Karachi), the Women's Action Forum (Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, and Hyderabad), Women Democratic Front, Aurat Foundation, Aurat Haq, Girls at Dhabas, and War Against Rape (WAR), Lahore.

It was also endorsed by Joint Action Committee (JAC), Freedom Network, Media Matters for Democracy, Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights, and Pakistan Press Foundation.

International organisations such as Freedom Forum Nepal, NetBlocks, Internet Sans Frontières (Internet Without Borders), and Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) also endorsed the statement.