- India has lodged a strong diplomatic protest with the UN rights office over its updated report on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
- In 2018, the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) released a report titled ‘Situation of Human Rights in Kashmir’, which alleged India of human right violations in Jammu and Kashmir.
- It was the first-ever report on Kashmir, urging action by both countries to reduce tensions.
- India slammed this report accusing the High Commissioner of Human Rights of biasness in bringing this report.
- In March 2019, the current Special Rapporteurs on Extrajudicial Executions, Torture, and Right to Health, asked India about steps taken to address the alleged human rights violations listed in the June 2018 report of OHCHR.
- India rejected all the allegations in a reply to the OHCHR, and informed the HRC that it will no longer entertain any communication with its Special Rapporteurs on its report.
- Now, OHCHR in a new UN human rights report on the situation in Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir said India and Pakistan had failed to improve the situation in Kashmir and have not taken any concrete steps to address the numerous concerns raised in its earlier report.
What the OHCRH reports on J&K says:
- From May 2018 to April 2019, the number of civilian casualties reported over the 12-month period may be the highest in over a decade.
- India and Pakistan had failed to improve the situation in Kashmir and not taken any concrete steps to address the numerous concerns raised in the earlier report.
- There are serious human rights violations and patterns of impunity in Kashmir and significant human rights concerns witnessed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
- The report accused Indian security forces for human rights violations in Kashmir.
- The report also called for an urgent need to address past and ongoing human rights violations and to deliver justice to the people in Kashmir.
- The update also 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 deterioration in India-Pakistan ties.
India’s reaction to the report:
- The update seems to accord a legitimacy to terrorism that is in complete variance with UN Security Council positions
- 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.
- 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.
- The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) ignores the core issue of cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
- The assertions in the report are in violation of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and ignore the core issue of cross-border terrorism.
Pakistan’s reaction to the report:
- Pakistan has appreciated the UN report.
About Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights) is the leading UN entity on human rights.
- It is a department of the Secretariat of the United Nations that works to promote and protect the human rights that are stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.
- The office was established by the UN General Assembly in
- It is headed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, who co-ordinates human rights activities throughout the UN System.
- It also acts as the secretariat of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.
- The current High Commissioner of OHCHR is Michelle Bachelet of Chile, who succeeded Zeid Raad Al Hussein of Jordan in 2018.
About Human Rights Council (HRC)
- The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system.
- The Council was created by the United Nations General Assembly in
- It is responsible for-
- Strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe.
- Addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.
- It discusses all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention.
- The Council is made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the UN General Assembly.