'It's not about politics': Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights defends UN's Kashmir report

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a statement on Wednesday defending the first-ever UN human rights report on Kashmir. In the statement, the OHCHR said the issue "is not about politics" and the intention behind the report was "to assist the States".

OHCHR said: "The report was developed through remote monitoring, after the Indian and Pakistani authorities failed to grant them unconditional access to the region." The OHCHR added that since the report was published, they have been deeply disappointed by the reaction of the Indian authorities, who "dismissed the report as 'fallacious, tendentious and motivated' without examining it and responding to the very serious concerns about the human rights situation in Indian-administered Kashmir and Pakistan-administered Kashmir".

File image of the UNHRC. Image courtesy: UN website

File image of the UNHRC. Image courtesy: UN website

"We are disturbed by the sustained attempts to distract and divert the focus away from the human rights violations on both sides of the Line of Control,"OHCHR said. The OHCHR added that the UN Human Rights Office has a "global mandate and works independently, with a well-established methodology" with an aim to help both the countries address the plaguing border issues.

Wednesday's press release also discussed concerns over the demonstrations began in Nicaragua against President Daniel Ortega’s government and communal violence in the Mopti region of central Mali.

While the release mentions how since the beginning of the year, the Human Rights and Protection Division of Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)—the UN peace-keeping mission in Mali—documented 99 incidents of inter-communal violence resulting in at least 289 civilian deaths, in case of Nicaragua, it mentions the death of 280 people and injury of 1,830 which was caused "by the State and by pro-government armed elements".

On 19 June, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein urged all nations "to do more, to speak louder and work harder for the common purpose and for universal human rights law, to better our chances for a global peace." Zeid, in his address, spoke about violations in Syria, Myanmar, Burundi, Nicaragua, India and Pakistan.

"I have sought to engage substantively with both India and Pakistan over the past two years regarding the situation in Kashmir, on both sides of the Line of Control," he had said.

On 13 July, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had hinted at his support for the UN human rights chief's call for an independent international investigation into the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), saying the Human Rights High Commissioner's action "represents the voice of the UN" on the issue.

"As you can imagine, all the action of the Human Rights High Commissioner is an action that represents the voice of the UN in relation to that issue," Guterres told reporters at his press conference when asked whether he supports an independent international probe into the rights situation in Kashmir and PoK as recommended by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein in his report in June.

With inputs from PTI


Updated Date: Jul 18, 2018 22:43 PM

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