UN calls for international inquiry into Kashmir rights violations


United Nations, June 14 : It is up to the members of the UN Human Rights Council to follow up the recommendation of Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and set up an international commission to investigate the human rights situation in Kashmir, a spokesman for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday.

Asked by reporters if Guterres supports setting up the inquiry body, his deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said: “This, as you know, is a question for the member states of the human rights council. Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has made that proposal to the Human Rights Council and we will see and evaluate what the response will be.”

“As with all question regarding mandates by member states, it’s up to the member states to determine the sort of mandates that the United Nations will have,” he said in reply to a question about the prospects of a UN probe given the rejection of the report by India and acceptance by Pakistan.

He added: “What the High Commissioner has done and what the Human Rights Office has done is provide with the best information that they have available even though they lacked the sort of access that they needed to either of the areas of Kashmir. At this stage they now have the report in the hands of the members of the Human Rights Council (and they) can determine whether any other steps are needed.”

India’s term as a member of the Human Rights Council ended last year, while Pakistan is currently a member.

About the Kashmir dispute, Haq said, “The parties need to resolve the situation in Kashmir through their own relations.”

The 49-page report issued on Thursday by the Office of the Human Rights High Commissioner said there was a “situation of chronic impunity for violations committed by security forces” and listed human rights violations on both sides of the Line of Control.

India rejected the report asserting that it “is overtly prejudiced and seeks to build a false narrative”.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar dismissed it as “a selective compilation of largely unverified information.”

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