In Detail: UN calls for probe in rights violation in Kashmir, backs ‘right to self-determination’


United Nation has produced a report named ‘Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Kashmir’ analysing the situation from June 2016- April 2018. Giving recommendations to the authorities of India, OHCHR asked them to ‘fully respect India’s international human rights law obligations in Indian-administered Kashmir,’ and ‘respect the right to self-determination of Kashmiri people.’

In this report, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights explores the various topics including pellet gun usage, lack of justice and excessive usage of force.

The reports also talk about the ‘enforced disappearance and sexual violence’ in the valley.

The highlights of this report are the ongoing serious human rights violations and patterns of impunity in Indian-Administered Kashmir particularly from July 2016 to April 2018. While it also raises significant human rights concerns in Pakistan-Administered Kashmir.

There is an urgent need to address past and ongoing human rights violations and abuses and deliver justice for all people in Kashmir, who for seven decades have suffered a conflict that has claimed or ruined numerous lives, a report by the UN Human Rights Office published on Thursday says.

JKCCS and APDP also welcomed the report saying, “this report affirms that J&K requires special attention and is a signal to governments that the United Nations is closely monitoring the everyday violence.”

The report also said that the resolution to the political situation in Kashmir should entail a commitment to ending the cycles of violence and accountability for past and current human rights violations and abuses committed by all parties and redress for victims.

“Such a resolution can only be brought about by meaningful dialogue that includes the people of Kashmir,” the report added.

Hurriyat leader, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also welcomed the report saying that UN has the moral obligation towards the people of Kashmir.

While the Ministry of External Affairs of India rejected the report saying, “It is fallacious, tendentious and motivated. We question the intent in bringing out such a report. The report also violated the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

OHCHR also asked Governments of India and Pakistan to immediately cease all shelling and firing along the Line of Control and Working Boundary.

Chronic impunity for sexual violence also remains a key concern in Kashmir.  An emblematic case is the Kunan-Poshpora mass rape 27 years ago when, according to survivors, soldiers gang-raped 23 women. “Attempts to seek justice have been denied and blocked over the years at different levels,” the report says.

In the meantime, the report also asked to repeal the Armed forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 and to establish independent, impartial and credible investigations to probe all civilian killings which have occurred since July 2016. In the reference to the Kashmiri Pandit exodus, the report asked to investigate all cases of abuses by armed groups since the late 1980’s. The report also stated that the immediate order to end of the use of pellet-firing shotguns in Jammu and Kashmir should be implemented.

Talking about the freedom of speech, the report stated that the end of restrictions on the movement of journalists and arbitrary bans of the publication of newspapers in Jammu and Kashmir is necessary.

The report urges Pakistan to end the misuse of anti-terror legislation to persecute those engaging in peaceful political and civil activities and those who express dissent. The sections of the AJK interim constitution that limit the rights to freedoms of expression and opinion, and peaceful assembly and association should be amended.

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