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e-2607 (Foreign affairs)

Initiated by Michaela Lavis from Toronto, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • Jammu and Kashmir is internationally-recognized disputed territory;
  • On March 31, 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian government introduced the new domicile law. This law is aimed at demographic change, and at taking the land and resources from the indigenous population of Jammu and Kashmir;
  • This law is counter to the United Nations Security Council resolutions 47 (1948), 91(1951), 96(1951), 98(1952), 122(1957) and 126(1957) that call for a plebiscite to determine the future of the disputed territory;
  • Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states “the occupying power shall not transfer its own civilian population into territory it occupies;” and under Article 1 all High Contracting Parties, which includes Canada, are required to take action to ensure respect for the Convention “in all circumstances”; and
  • The overall situation has dangerously worsened as India continues to withhold 4G internet access denying fundamental rights to expression, communication, and information, with even health professionals unable to access urgently required information as they respond to COVID-19.
We, the undersigned, Citizens and Residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1- Condemn the government of India’s Domicile Law, and its settlement-colonization underway in Jammu and Kashmir
2- Request that India immediately restore 4G internet access;
3- With urgency given COVID-19, request that India ends preemptive imprisonment and free all political prisoners;
4- Insist upon compliance with international legal obligations as part of Canada’s ongoing relationship with India, especially in trade, defense, and counterterrorism; and
5- Proactively work with the UN towards implementation of self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Response by the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne

The Government of Canada continues to closely monitor the political and human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir. More than one year after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India on August 5, 2019, many restrictions have been lifted, including the release of most individuals under preventative detention, the easing of curfews, and the partial restoration of telecommunications services. Canada remains concerned, however, by the continuing communication restrictions, ongoing preventative detentions, and the mounting economic impact, which is compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada regularly engages the Government of India on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Following the revocation of Article 370, the Minister of Foreign Affairs spoke with the Minister of External Affairs of India and also issued a statement expressing Canada’s concerns regarding the risk of escalation, infringements on civil rights, and reports of detentions. During an official visit to Ottawa on December 19, 2019, the Minister of Foreign Affairs also discussed the situation in Jammu and Kashmir directly with the Minister of External Affairs of India.

Canada also engages with local stakeholders on the ground in Jammu and Kashmir. On February 12-13, 2020, Canada’s High Commissioner to India visited the Jammu and Kashmir region as part of a diplomatic delegation. During the visit, the High Commissioner met with local officials, media, and civil society representatives and discussed issues including the security situation, economic and communications restrictions, and the political process.

Canada looks forward to the restoration of normalcy and resumption of inclusive political dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir. In this regard, Canada has followed political developments, including the implementation of the Reorganization (Adaptation of State Laws) Order or “domicile law,” issued by the Government of India on March 31, 2020. Canada continues to encourage meaningful consultations with affected local communities and shares the aspiration that all communities in the region can live in peace, security and dignity.

The Government of Canada is committed to the protection and promotion of human rights at home and abroad, and will continue to follow the situation in Jammu and Kashmir closely.

Open for signature
May 15, 2020, at 4:42 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
September 12, 2020, at 4:42 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Scott Duvall (Hamilton Mountain)
September 30, 2020 (Petition No. 432-00041)
Government response tabled
November 16, 2020
Photo - Scott Duvall
Hamilton Mountain
New Democratic Party Caucus