Updated: September 9, 2019 10:09:33 pm
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Monday expressed concerns over the actions by New Delhi in Jammu and Kashmir ever since the revocation of Article 370 last month.
While addressing the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council Meeting in Geneva, High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet referred to the situation on both sides of the Line of Control. “In relation to Kashmir, my office continues to receive reports on the human rights situation on both sides of the line of control,” she said.
Taking note of the prohibitions imposed in Kashmir and detention of political figures, she said, “I’m deeply concerned about the impact of recent actions by the Government of India on the human rights of Kashmiris, restrictions on internet communications and peaceful assembly, detention of local political leaders and activists.”
The High Commissioner for Human Rights exceptionally urged India to show some restraint and respect the rights of the Kashmiris. “While I continue to urge the Governments of India and Pakistan to ensure that human rights are respected and protected, I have appealed particularly to India to ease the current lockdowns or curfews.”
“I have appealed particularly to India to ease the current lockdowns or curfews; to ensure people’s access to basic services; and that all due process rights are respected for those who have been detained,” she said.
Bachelet also asked New Delhi to engage the Kashmiris in any decision-making processes concerning them. “It is important that the people of Kashmir are consulted and engaged in any decision-making processes that have an impact on their future,” she said.
Welcoming the “growing concern”, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that “time to act is now.” He said the international community must not remain “indifferent” to “human rights abuses” by Indian forces.
I welcome the growing concern & demands by the int community, global ldrs, UNSG & UNHCHR, for India to lift its 6-week long siege of IOJK. The Int community must not remain indifferent to the massive human rights abuses by Occupation Indian forces under cover of a brutal siege
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) September 9, 2019
Reiterating the United Nations’ concerns, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman in a statement said Bachelet, made “important remarks about the deteriorating situation in Jammu and Kashmir” during the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
“The UN High Commissioner’s concerns and calls are consistent with the position taken by the UN system vis-a-vis the human rights situation in Kashmir including the continuing restrictions and crackdown on fundamental rights and freedoms of the Kashmiri people,” the Foreign Office said.
Earlier in June, the United Nations Human Rights Commission had sought an “establishment of a commission of inquiry to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigation into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir” and had asked the governments of India and Pakistan to “fully respect the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir as protected under international law”.
India, however, rejected the report calling it ”fallacious, tendentious and motivated.” Adding that the report is a “selective compilation of largely unverified statements,” the Ministry said that the report “violates India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” and “questioned the intent” behind it.
Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after the Centre scrapped the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories.
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