On Thursday, 14th June, 2018, the UN issued a report on the “situation of Human Rights in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir from July 2016 to April 2018, over which period allegations of widespread and serious human rights violations were received, notably excessive use of force by Indian security forces that led to numerous civilian casualties”.
The report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) asserted “impunity for human rights violations and lack of access to justice are key human rights challenges in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir”.
The Sources of Human Rights violations are cited to be: Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 ( AFSPA) and the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978 (PSA). These Indian military acts have created “structures that obstruct the normal course of law, impede accountability and jeopardize the right to remedy for victims of human rights violations”.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra ‘ad Al Hussein, also urged the UNHRC to consider establishing a commission of enquiry for a comprehensive and independent investigation of the situation.
Picture courtesy: Sputnik News
India has rejected the report, calling it “fallacious, tendentious and motivated”.
Mr. Ravish Kumar, official spokesperson of the MEA, said, “We are deeply concerned that individual prejudices are being allowed to undermine the credibility of a UN institution”, targeting the “prejudices” of the UN High Commissioner for HR.
The Indian Spokesperson said the report “seeks to build a false narrative “, stating that Terrorism is the most “egregious violation” of human rights. The report “ conveniently ignored the pattern of cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan and territories under it’s illegal control”.
The report has described Burhan Wani as a “leader” of the Hizbul Mujahideen.
Internationally designated and UN-proscribed terrorist organisations like the HuM and the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba have been described as “armed groups”. This report clearly undermines UN’s resolution for Zero tolerance of terrorism.
The report also mentions territories like ‘Azad Jammu and Kashmir’, clearly indicative of the direction in which the report is biased.
The UNHRC security chief has called on the Indian security forces to exercise “maximum restraints” and abide by International standards on use of force in dealing with protests in the future.
Pakistan says references of human rights violations in Azad J&K should not be constructed to create a false sense of equivalence with the gross scenario in India. Pakistan is also trying to draw a link between the report and the murder of leading Kashmiri journalist, Mr. Shujaat Bukhari.
The report seems to be a product of a strategy of Pakistan and China, especially after India rejected to endorse China’s Belt and Road Project, whose key artery seeks to pass through Kashmir.