India slams U.N. rights office report on J&K as continuation of ‘false narrative’

In an update of a report on Kashmir released last year by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, it claimed that ‘neither India nor Pakistan has taken any concrete steps to address the numerous concerns raised.’

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The UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) on Monday said India and Pakistan had failed to improve the situation in Kashmir and not taken any concrete steps to address the numerous concerns raised in its earlier report.

Last year, the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights released its first-ever report on Kashmir, urging action by both countries to reduce tensions.

“A UN human rights report on the situation in Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir from May 2018 to April 2019, says the number of civilian casualties reported over the 12-month period may be the highest in over a decade,” the new report from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said.

“In Kashmir, accountability for violations committed by members of the Indian security forces remains virtually non-existent,” the report said.

The update made wide-ranging recommendations to the governments of India and Pakistan and urged the Human Rights Council (HRC) to explore possibilities of setting up an international commission of inquiry into the allegations of human rights abuse in Kashmir.

Responding to the new report, India said it had extended legitimacy to cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan. “It is a matter of deep concern that this update seems to accord legitimacy to terrorism that is in complete variance with UN Security Council positions,” said External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar. He described the report as part of the continued “motivated narrative” against Indian sovereignty and integrity.

Mr. Kumar said the update referred to terror outfits such as Jaish-E-Mohammed as “armed groups”, and reminded that the UN Security Council had blamed the group for the February 14, 2019, Pulwama terror attack that led to a deterioration in India-Pakistan ties.

Policy distorted

India also said the update has distorted its policy on the Kashmir issue and failed to recognise that the Indian state ensured justice through a strong judiciary and national human rights mechanism.

Mr. Kumar pointed out that the new report reflected a “prejudiced mindset” which chose to ignore the “comprehensive socio-economic developmental efforts undertaken by the government in the face of terrorist challenges”.

He said the report was crafted without taking into account the campaign by the Pakistan-backed terror outfits adding, “the update seems to be a contrived effort to create an artificial parity between the world’s largest and the most vibrant democracy and a country that openly practices state- sponsored terrorism”.

The comprehensive report from the OHCHR said India continues to use pellet-firing shotguns as a crowd control tool and criticised various laws that used for detention and arrest of political activists and civil society figures in Kashmir.

The new report said Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) has chronicled 160 civilians killed in 2018, the highest in around a decade.

The MEA response emphasised that the OHCHR report has legitimised the actions of violent groups that champion dismemberment of the Indian state and seems out of the chosen line of the UN. In a detailed section on Pakistani activities, the OHCHR report also elaborated on denial of rights by the Pakistani state and violent groups in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).

(This story originally appeared on The Hindu)



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