Sending Office: Honorable Ilhan Omar
As you are aware, a month ago, the Indian government cut off communications to, from, and within the state of Jammu and Kashmir and arrested hundreds of Kashmiri political leaders. Like many of you, I have heard from Kashmiri-Americans who are unable to
reach their family members and loved ones and are deeply worried about their safety.
One civilian death
has been confirmed, but human rights groups have expressed their concern that the toll could be far higher. There have also been reports of arbitrary detention, torture, and rape by security forces. Genocide Watch has issued a genocide alert for the region.
To make matters worse, these events threaten the already fragile relationship between India and Pakistan, and an escalation of conflict between two nuclear powers could have catastrophic effects.
India and Pakistan are both important U.S. allies, and we must use our leverage in the region to deescalate the situation, and demand respect for human rights and basic democratic norms. This is why I have authored a letter to the U.S. Ambassador to India
and the Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy in Pakistan to emphasize the importance of these fundamental American values.
If you have any questions, or would like to add your signature, please contact Ryan Morgan (firstname.lastname@example.org) in my office. The full text of the letter is below.
Member of Congress
United States Ambassador to India Chargé d’Affaires a.i.
U.S. Embassy New Delhi U.S. Embassy Islamabad
Shantipath, Chanakyapuri Diplomatic Enclave Ramna 5
New Delhi – 110021 Islamabad
Dear Ambassadors Juster and Jones,
I am writing to express my grave concern regarding the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. It has now been nearly three weeks since the Indian government shut off communications to, from, and within Kashmir. This is a deeply ominous sign that is incompatible
with both democratic and human rights norms. Coupled with the enforced curfew, it represents an unacceptable restriction on the freedoms of expression, assembly, and movement.
My office has heard from several Kashmiri-Americans who have, like Kashmiris around the globe, been unable to reach their family members and loved ones within Jammu and Kashmir. Although the reporting of what is happening inside Kashmir has necessarily been
piecemeal and incomplete because of the communication shutdown, the reports we are all receiving are harrowing. These include allegations of forced disappearances, mass detentions, rape and sexual assault, and the targeted detention of political, economic,
and social leaders.
Prominent international human rights NGOs – including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Committee to Protect Journalists
– have issued alerts about the ongoing crisis in Kashmir. I am also deeply concerned that Genocide Watch has issued a genocide alert for Kashmir. They have identified seven genocide “risk factors” currently
apply to the situation there, and that their Ten Stages are all “far advanced.”
As you both know very well, there is also the risk that the relationship between India and Pakistan will continue to devolve as a result of this crisis. This presents tremendous danger to global peace and a clear national security risk for the United States.
Pakistan and India are both valued allies, crucial to our interests in the region, including the Afghanistan peace process. It is of the utmost importance that we leverage our relationships with their governments to deescalate the situation.
I urge both of you to do everything in your power to:
- Facilitate connections between Kashmiri-Americans and their family members in Jammu and Kashmir.
- Insist that the Indian government immediately restore communications in Jammu and Kashmir and release those they have arbitrarily detained.
- Provide assistance with documentation on allegations of human rights abuses in both Indian- and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir and urge the Indian and Pakistani governments to allow independent, impartial investigations.
- Deescalate the tensions between India and Pakistan
- Emphasize the centrality of Kashmiri voices in determining the future of Jammu and Kashmir.
Member of Congress
CC: Acting Secretary Alice Wells
Secretary Mike Pompeo
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