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UNHRC asks India to end lockdown in J&K

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, attends the opening of 42nd session of the Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, attends the opening of 42nd session of the Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019.   | Photo Credit: AP

Michelle Bachelet also asked India to ensure that the National Register of Citizens verification in Assam does not leave the people Stateless

The UN Human Rights Council urged India on Monday to end the lockdown in Kashmir and restore basic communications services. 

Delivering the Opening Statement, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet noted the situation in Kashmir and Assam, where lakhs have been excluded from the National Register of Citizens, and asked the Indian government to respect civil rights.

“I am deeply concerned about the impact of recent actions by the Government of India on the human rights of Kashmiris, including restrictions on internet communications and peaceful assembly, and the detention of local political leaders and activists,” said Ms. Bachelet, while addressing the 42nd Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC).

India ended the special status for the State of Jammu and Kashmir guaranteed under Article 370 of the Constitution and put the newly created Union Territory in a state of indefinite curfew. Following the declaration, UN Security Council held a special consulation on the situation in territory on August 16.

“I have appealed particularly to India to ease the current lockdowns or curfews; to ensure people’s access to basic services; and that all due process rights are respected for those who have been detained. It is important that the people of Kashmir are consulted and engaged in any decision-making processes that have an impact on their future,” said Ms. Bachelet.

The official also raised the issue of exclusion of 1.9 million nationals from the exercise of the NRC of Assam and said the process has caused great uncertainty and anxiety among the people. 

She said, “I appeal to the Government to ensure due process during the appeals process, prevent deportation or detention, and ensure people are protected from statelessness.”

The official referred to an entire range of issues across the world but problems of human rights violation from India and Myanmar found greater attention. The global attention to developments in Kashmir is on expected lines and The Hindu had reported on Saturday that India was getting ready for a season of diplomatic blitz as Pakistan intensified its campaign against India after the August 5 decision on Kashmir. 

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan welcomed the comments from UNHRC and asked it to “set up the indepth investigation commission to probe human rights abuses” in the Indian territory.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has stationed a high-power diplomatic team led by India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria in Geneva for several weeks to explain the Indian position on Kashmir. Pakistan sent back Mr. Bisaria while protesting against India’s removal of Kashmir’s special status.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 10:10:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/un-human-rights-chief-asks-india-pakistan-to-respect-and-protect-rights-of-kashmiris/article29375135.ece

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