The Armed Forces Special Powers Act: A Renewed Debate in India on Human Rights and National Security

Report
November 8, 2013

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act: A Renewed Debate in India on Human Rights and National Security

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For decades, The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) has enabled serious human rights violations to be committed by soldiers in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and parts of northeast India, and shielded those responsible. Attempts to challenge the AFSPA have been met with weak responses from authorities, and little apparent commitment to tackle impunity.

In 2013, two high-level official committees released damning reports highly critical of the way the AFSPA facilitated sexual violence and extrajudicial executions. The reports of the Justice Verma Committee and the Justice Hegde Commission supported calls made to authorities by the UN and Indian bodies to address the abuses committed under the AFSPA and end the effective impunity enjoyed by security forces.

These two reports have renewed debates on the special powers granted to security forces in India and their impact on human rights. This briefing examines recent developments and outlines the ongoing rights violations being committed in areas where the AFSPA is in force.

Amnesty International India urges the Government of India to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Acts, 1958 and 1990.