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India’s reaction to our report disappointing, puzzling: UNHRC chief

Friday, June 29, 2018
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United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has urged India to have confidence to look into the human rights violations that “have led to the alienation of the entire population of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the young people.”  He said the reaction of the Indian authorities to UN report “was disappointing but also puzzling” as the facts in the report were from government documents and sources.

In his write up for The Indian Express,  Hussain said: “I urge the Indian government to have the confidence to look at the human rights situation in Kashmir and understand…alienation of the entire population of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the young people. The people of Kashmir have repeatedly asked for justice and an end to the cycles of violence”.
 
Recently, UN in its first ever 49 page detailed report about human rights violations on both sides of Line of Control (LoC) had slammed India and Pakistan.

Hussain mentioned “the seven decades of this dispute have wrought a heavy toll on all Kashmiris, who have been rendered voiceless amid the political polarization”.

Referring to the recent report released by UN on human rights violations in the region, Hussain said: “…accountability for human rights abuses and violations cannot be indefinitely suspended while we wait for a political solution to Kashmir. If anything, adhering to human rights principles can help reduce tensions and prepare the grounds for a sustainable solution”.

Hussain said that there exists a “large deficit” of human rights on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC). “This needs to be addressed urgently,” he said, adding that his office has been urging both the countries India and Pakistan since 2016 to allow unconditional access across both sides of Line of Control.

Hussain also expressed concern over the impunity enjoyed by government forces in Kashmir under the grab of Armed Forces Special Powers Act(AFSPA) and Public Safety Act(PSA). “How is it that a country that prides itself on its democratic institutions has not allowed a single trial in nearly 28 years of armed forces personnel accused of serious violations, including killings, rape, torture and enforced disappearances?,” he said.

Army chief Bipin Rawat has termed UN report as “motivated”, while External Affairs Ministry also dubbed it as “overtly prejudiced” and “false narrative”.

In a sharp reaction to Indian government objections over the report, Hussain said: “The Indian government said that our report ‘ignored the pattern of cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan’. This is far from the case, as the report addresses armed groups and the human rights abuses they have committed over the years, including killings, kidnappings and sexual violence. The report also clearly cites the inclusion of LeT, Hizbul Mujahideen or Jaish-e-Mohammed in the United Nations Security Council Sanctions List, and we have not minced words about what they have done and from where they have derived their support”.
 
Hussain said: “The reaction of the Indian authorities to our report was disappointing but also puzzling. Many of the facts presented in the report are from government documents and sources. For example, the numbers of civilians killed or injured since July 2016 come from the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir as reported to the Legislative Assembly. Indeed, many of the issues the report details have previously been raised by Indian and international human rights experts, as well as government-appointed commissions and Indian civil society organizations”.