United Nations urges inquiry into human rights violations in Kashmir

United Nations urges inquiry into human rights violations in Kashmir

In a strong reaction, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the report is "overtly prejudiced" and seeks to build a "false narrative". "The incorrect description of Indian territory in the report is mischievous, misleading and unacceptable", he said. "Both India and Pakistan should fulfil their obligations under worldwide human rights law and end the atmosphere of impunity in Kashmir by conducting effective, impartial, and independent investigations into human rights abuses by armed forces".

"This is why any resolution of the political situation in Kashmir must entail a commitment to end the cycles of violence and ensure accountability for past and current violations and abuses by all parties, and provide redress for victims", he said. "If there is any outstanding issue between India and Pakistan as far as J&K is concerned, it is only that how we have to retrieve the PoK", Singh said.

The UN report talked about the alleged human rights violation in both "Indian-administered and Pakistan-administered Kashmir". It added that the report is a selective compilation of largely unverified information.

India, on its part, rejected the claims made in the report. The entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India.

After decades of avoiding the issue, the worldwide body has released the report which highlights abuses and human rights violations on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) with a special focus on conditions in the state of Jammu and Kashmir between July 2016 to April 2018.

"This proposal is consistent with Pakistan's several calls to this effect since 2016, even as India has continued to ignore legitimate demands for probe into gross and systematic violations, including pellet guns, excessive use of force, arbitrary arrest and detentions as well as continued sexual violence as part of overall impunity enjoyed by Indian security forces", the handout read.

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The report also sought repealing of the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 "urgently" and also "immediately remove the requirement for prior central government permission to prosecute security forces personnel accused of human rights violations in civilian courts".

Welcoming the report, Kashmiri hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq wrote on Twitter, "People of Kashmir thank the United Nations, especially the bold efforts of its HR commissioner, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, for its support to the right of self-determination".

Up to 145 civilians have been killed by security forces from July 2016 to March 2018, with 20 others killed by militants, the report said. He said it stipulates that the final status of Jammu and Kashmir would be determined through the democratic method of a transparent, free and fair plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations to ascertain the wishes of the Kashmiris.

Pakistan should "end the misuse of anti-terror legislation to persecute those engaging in peaceful political and civil activities and those who express dissent", the United Nations report says.

However, Kashmiri human rights activist Khurram Parvez welcomed the report and the recommendation for a commission of inquiry by the UN Human Rights Council.

The MEA further stated "it is disturbing that those behind this report have chosen to describe internationally designated and UN-proscribed terrorist entities as "armed groups" and terrorists as "leaders".

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