The UN has rejected claims that India was not allowing the UN observer group monitoring the ceasefire line between India and Pakistan to present its periodic reports on the ground situation, asserting that the group has “completely different” reporting requirements.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq dismissed the claims when a Pakistani journalist at a briefing yesterday asked whether the reason that the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) does not present its reports was because the Indian government does not allow it to do so.
The journalist also said that the role of UNMOGIP was being “constrained” by the Indian government.
“No, no, I’m sure you’re aware that different peacekeeping missions have different mandates and including different reporting mandates. The earlier peacekeeping missions, which include the UN monitoring group in India and Pakistan come from a different era where they have completely different reporting requirements,” Haq said.
According to the Security Council mandate of 1971, UNMOGIP observes and reports on ceasefire violations along and across the Line of Control and the working boundary between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as reports developments that could lead to ceasefire violations.
India has maintained that UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control (LoC).
The observer group is headed by Major General Per Lodin of Sweden. It currently has 38 military observers and 73 civilian personnel.
The UN has concerns about the situation in Kashmir and continues to monitor it, Haq said when pressed about Guterres “not paying” attention to the alleged human rights violations there and not talking to leaders from the two countries.
“The basic point is we have concerns about the situation in Kashmir. We do monitor the situation, and we have different levels of contacts with the Governments of India and of Pakistan. If there’s anything further to say, we’ll let you know. But, at this stage, this is one of the situations around the world that we do monitor with concern,” he said yesterday.
Haq said that just because the Secretary General is not visiting the region, it does not mean he is not paying attention to the issues.
“He (Secretary General) can pay attention without necessarily visiting. Even when he does not visit countries, though, he is aware of the problems there, and we have many levels of officials, including country-level officials who are there to deal with the various problems that arise,” he asserted.