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United Nation High Commissioner for Human Rights criticizes action by Indian forces in Jammu and Kashmir (Relevant for GS Mains Paper II)

Zeid Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for human rights stated
At the Human Rights Council in Geneva’s annual session, preceding UN General Assembly, Mr. Zeid Al Hussein, called for an “independent, impartial and international mission” claiming that the Indian authorities had used force excessively against the civilian population under its administration. 

Human rights violations will not disappear if a government blocks access to international observers and then invests in a public relations campaign to offset any unwanted publicity. 

On the contrary, efforts to duck or refuse legitimate scrutiny raise an obvious question: what, precisely, are you hiding from us?”

He also said that while Pakistan had responded to the HRC’s request to send the team, agreeing to its visit to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir “in tandem” with a mission to Jammu and Kashmir, India had yet to respond formally.

India’s Response
Responding to the reference to India’s commitment as a member of the Human Rights Council, the Ministry of External Affairs responded that “Terrorism is the grossest violation of human rights”, and that there was no comparison between PoK and Jammu and Kashmir.

“The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is part of a pluralistic and secular democracy, where freedoms are guaranteed by an independent judiciary, an active media and a vibrant civil society. In contrast, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is administered by a ‘deep state’ and has become a hub for the global export of terror.

Significance of being slammed by UNHRC
Mr. Hussein’s reference is significant as it sought to put India in the same bracket as Syria, Ethiopia and Venezuela, calling them part of “an emerging pattern” of UN member states who deny the UN body access.

Background for Turbulence in the Kashmir valley
Killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani sparked a series of protests and violence in the valley, that has left more than 76 dead and hundreds injured. 

Pakistan PM Sharif’s envoy Sardar Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari had met with the Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein calling for an enquiry into Burhan Wani’s killing and the allegations of human rights violations under the UN charter, as well as an end to the use of pellet guns in Kashmir.

However, India said the demand for an “external mission” had been dismissed by the all-party conference that sent a delegation to Jammu and Kashmir.

“The high number of casualties sustained by Indian security forces is a reflection of the tremendous restraint they have displayed in difficult circumstances,” the MEA spokesperson said in the statement rejecting both Pakistan’s contentions and the UN Human Rights Chief’s demands to investigate in India.



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