Voicing concern over alleged human rights violations, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein Wednesday appealed to both India and Pakistan to grant his team access to Jammu and Kashmir as well as PoK.
“I deeply regret that our requests for access have not been granted,” said the High Commissioner who has sought access for a team to visit both Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to independently and thoroughly look into allegations of human rights violations.
Zeid said it was “unfortunate” that access hasn’t been granted yet considering “the seriousness of the allegations of the use of excessive force, allegations of state sponsorship of violence, as well as the number of people killed and the very large number of people injured.”
The human rights office wants its team on the ground in Kashmir to interview victims, witnesses and security forces and to independently assess the situation. “We requested full and unhindered access to the affected population, to interview a variety of individuals on the ground, including victims, witnesses, security forces, and with access to relevant documentation. Such access would enable us to provide an independent and fact-based analysis of the situation,” he said in a statement.
“Without access, we can only fear the worst,” Zeid added. “I reiterate our request for access.” India and Pakistan have been engaged in a war of words over the situation in Kashmir where violent protests have that left more than 60 people dead after the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani.