At U.S. Congressional Hearing on Kashmir, Call to End Lockdown
Lawyers and human rights advocates testified at a United States congressional hearing on Kashmir on November 14, demanding the release of detainees, giving foreign journalists and legal observers access to the majority-Muslim region, and calling for an end to the communication blackout that has been in place since August 5.
Witnesses who testified before the two-and-a-half-hours long hearing included Commissioner Anurima Bhargava of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Haley Duschinski, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Law, Justice and Culture at Ohio University, human rights lawyer Sehla Ashai, human rights lawyer Arjun S. Sethi, Yousra Fazili, human rights lawyer and cousin of detained Kashmiri businessman Mubeen Shah, writer Sunanda Vashisht and John Sifton of Human Rights Watch (HRW).
In a question facilitated by US Representative James McGovern, all the witnesses agreed that the UN and international journalists should be allowed into Kashmir, and that the current ban on communication should be lifted.
U.S. Representatives David Trone, David Cicilline, Sheila Jackson Lee, Brian K. Fitzpatrick, Pramila Jayapal, and Chris Smith were present at the hearing.