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Amnesty’s AFSPA rhetoric conveniently ignores US’s BSA for Afghanistan

Amnesty’s AFSPA rhetoric conveniently ignores US’s BSA for Afghanistan
However, Amnesty International (AI), which is headquartered in London, has Wednesday published a report titled “Denied - Failures in accountability for human rights violations by security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir” restated the same facts with old data.

Collating the data put out by the Indian army at various times, show that between January 1994 and 31 <g data-gr-id="42" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; -webkit-background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAKklEQVRYhe3OQQEAIAgEsMM6xrMb9SQGny3B6vb7AQAAAFad7QAAAACQDAGHAlfrnYEmAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWNY/ejYfyYGBgYGABiLA1VQQvxSAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">October,</g> 2014, total number of “unverified” human rights violations stood at 1013, while the army punished 61 <g data-gr-id="43" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; -webkit-background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAK0lEQVRYhe3OMQEAIAwDsA6DHPh/ZoTJ2JMoSPW7PwAAAMCqsx0AAAAAkgHerQKHq3BtYQAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWP4vGvnfyYGBgYGABl4A2hm/SKhAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">army-men</g> including officers, junior commissioned officers and other ranks. The AI figures are, “The Indian army’s Human Rights Cell reported that as of 2011, it has dismissed over 96 percent of the allegations of human rights violations brought against its personnel since 1993.”
The organisation raised the issue of the arbitrariness of the Art 4 of the AFSPA; they talked of how human rights violations cannot be adjudicated under Army Act; or how they dub all so-called ‘human rights abuses’ by the security forces are as torture.

Art 4 of the AFSPA (North East) 1959, replicated in AFSPA (Jammu and Kashmir) of 1990, rightly pilloried by the AI in page 18 of its report, mentions in paraphrased form: Any commissioned officer,   warrant officer, <g data-gr-id="44" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; -webkit-background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAK0lEQVRYhe3OMQEAIAwDsA6DHPh/ZoTJ2JMoSPW7PwAAAMCqsx0AAAAAkgHerQKHq3BtYQAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWP4vGvnfyYGBgYGABl4A2hm/SKhAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">non commissioned</g> officer or any other person of equivalent rank in the armed forces may, in a disturbed area:

(1) Use of force, of course with warning, with those who act against the law and order in a disturbed area prohibiting the assembly of five or more persons with or without weapons, <g data-gr-id="36" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; -webkit-background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAK0lEQVRYhe3OMQEAIAwDsA6DHPh/ZoTJ2JMoSPW7PwAAAMCqsx0AAAAAkgHerQKHq3BtYQAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWP4vGvnfyYGBgYGABl4A2hm/SKhAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">fire arms</g>, ammunition or explosives. 

(2) Destroy arms <g data-gr-id="33" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; -webkit-background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAKklEQVRYhe3OQQEAIAgEsMM6xrMb9SQGny3B6vb7AQAAAFad7QAAAACQDAGHAlfrnYEmAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWNY/ejYfyYGBgYGABiLA1VQQvxSAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">dumps</g> prepared or fortified positions or shelter.

(3) Arrest without warrant, any person who has committed a <g data-gr-id="30" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; -webkit-background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAK0lEQVRYhe3OMQEAIAwDsA6DHPh/ZoTJ2JMoSPW7PwAAAMCqsx0AAAAAkgHerQKHq3BtYQAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWP4vGvnfyYGBgYGABl4A2hm/SKhAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">cognisable</g> offence or against whom a reasonable suspicion exists. 

(4) Enter and search without warrant any premises to make any such arrest those persons mentioned in (3) or to recover any person believed to be wrongfully restrained and confined or any property reasonably suspected to be stolen property or any arms, ammunition or explosive substances believed to be unlawfully kept in such premises.

While the Act provides for the arrested persons to be handed over to the civilian authorities like the police under Art 5, there are still abuses on the ground. 

But what is crucial and interesting is the critical similarity and more, in fact, something that impinges on the sovereign authority of a country, is the relevant text of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) concluded between the USA and Afghanistan. The AI does not make even a mention of the agreement, leaving aside any educated critique of the agreement in its amnestyusa.org website.
So what does the BSA say?

Read <g data-gr-id="97" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; -webkit-background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAKklEQVRYhe3OQQEAIAgEsMM6xrMb9SQGny3B6vb7AQAAAFad7QAAAACQDAGHAlfrnYEmAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWNY/ejYfyYGBgYGABiLA1VQQvxSAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">on:</g> The Art 13 under a rather innocuous title, “Status of Personnel” says,

1. Afghanistan, while retaining its sovereignty, recognizes the particular importance of disciplinary control, including judicial and non-judicial measures, by United States forces authorities over members of the force and of the civilian component. <g data-gr-id="112" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; -webkit-background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAKklEQVRYhe3OQQEAIAgEsMM6xrMb9SQGny3B6vb7AQAAAFad7QAAAACQDAGHAlfrnYEmAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWNY/ejYfyYGBgYGABiLA1VQQvxSAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">Afghanistan therefore</g> agrees that the United States shall have the exclusive right to exercise jurisdiction over such persons in respect of any criminal or civil offenses committed in the territory of Afghanistan. 

2. If requested by Afghanistan, the United States shall inform Afghanistan of the status of any criminal proceedings regarding offenses allegedly committed in Afghanistan by the members of the force or of the civilian component involving Afghan nationals, including the final disposition of the investigations or prosecution. 

3. In the interests of justice, the Parties shall assist each other in <g data-gr-id="96" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; -webkit-background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAKklEQVRYhe3OQQEAIAgEsMM6xrMb9SQGny3B6vb7AQAAAFad7QAAAACQDAGHAlfrnYEmAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWNY/ejYfyYGBgYGABiLA1VQQvxSAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">investigation</g> of incidents, including the collection of evidence. 

4. The United States recognizes the critical role that Afghan law enforcement officials play in the enforcement of Afghan law and order and the protection of the Afghan people. Relevant Afghan authorities shall immediately notify United States forces authorities if they suspect a member of the force or of the civilian component is engaged in the commission of a crime so that United States forces authorities can take immediate action. Members of the force and of the civilian component shall not be arrested or detained by Afghan authorities. 

5. Afghanistan and the United States agree that members of the force and of the civilian component may not be surrendered to, or otherwise transferred to, the custody of an international tribunal or any other entity or state without the express consent of the United States.

Interestingly, on the Guantanamo detainees, AI signifies what is ‘torture’ in their parlance for Jammu and Kashmir is actually “<g data-gr-id="109" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; -webkit-background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAK0lEQVRYhe3OMQEAIAwDsA6DHPh/ZoTJ2JMoSPW7PwAAAMCqsx0AAAAAkgHerQKHq3BtYQAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWP4vGvnfyYGBgYGABl4A2hm/SKhAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">ill treatment</g>” by the USA. The night raids, the drone attacks, the special forces extra-judicial killings of ‘terrorists’ who have not been termed combatants under US laws itself, in Afghanistan are supposedly one <g data-gr-id="110" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; -webkit-background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAK0lEQVRYhe3OMQEAIAwDsA6DHPh/ZoTJ2JMoSPW7PwAAAMCqsx0AAAAAkgHerQKHq3BtYQAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWP4vGvnfyYGBgYGABl4A2hm/SKhAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">per cent</g> of the total deaths in the country, according to the AI. 
But have they collected this information themselves as painstakingly as they supposedly have in Jammu and Kashmir? No.
Pinaki Bhattacharya

Pinaki Bhattacharya

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