Repeal Armed Forces Act, says Amnesty

    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act must be immediately repealed, Amnesty International India said Thursday.

    This follows a recent spate of domestic and international criticism of the act and continuing human rights violations enabled by the controversial legislation, the rights group said.

    The demand was made in a briefing, “The Armed Forces Special Powers Act: Time For A Renewed Debate in India on Human Rights and National Security.”

    “Several expert bodies have now pointed out that the AFSPA enables serious human rights abuses wherever it is in force,” said Shashikumar Velath of Amnesty International India.

    “The AFSPA has not made these areas safer but has instead led to gross abuse of fundamental human rights of ordinary people. Authorities cannot simply continue to trot out arguments about national security any longer to defend the AFSPA.”

    The AFSPA provides sweeping powers to members of security forces, including the power to shoot to kill in situations where they are not at imminent risk, and to arrest people without warrants, and even detain them illegally, often leading to cases of extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances.

    Amnesty International India recognizes the duty of nations to protect people from rights abuses and crimes, including those committed by armed groups.

    However, the AFSPA has been ineffective in meeting these goals, and has instead contributed to the creation of a ‘culture of impunity’ for gross human rights violations in areas where it is operational, it said.

    “Amnesty International India has also found evidence of continuing violations of international law under the AFSPA,” said Shashikumar Velath.

    “These include continuing use of lethal force in both northeastern states and in Jammu and Kashmir, lack of accountability in cases of alleged human rights violations, and denial of justice to victims.”