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Collective Violence, Human Rights, and the Politics of Curfew

Curfew imposition and administration in times of collective violence raise human rights issues that have been virtually completely ignored, often allowing local, state, and national political units to act with impunity against internal racial and religious minority groups. Many regimes have used curfews as means of control, victimization, and outright violence against targetted groups rather than as devices to bring peace during violent times for the benefit of all. Evidence from field research in northern India is provided to illustrate the myriad abuses of curfew restrictions that have taken place regularly in that country over the past half century. A list of suggested reforms are provided as a step towards ending the misuse of curfew restrictions during times of violence in India and elsewhere.