UNHRC criticises India for pressure on journalists, use Of UAPA in Kashmir

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The United Nations high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet has criticized India for pressure on journalists, use of UAPA and the as “frequent” temporary communication blackouts in Jammu and Kashmir.

According to a report by Press Trust of India, she described the use of UAPA in India as “worrying and said hundreds of people remain in detention in India for exercising their right to the freedom of expression

In her opening statement at the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Bachelet acknowledged the Indian government’s efforts to counter terrorism and promote development in Jammu and Kashmir but said such “restrictive measures can result in human rights violations and foster further tensions and discontent”.

“Indian authorities’ restrictions on public assembly and frequent temporary communication blackouts continue in Jammu and Kashmir, while hundreds of people remain in detention for exercising their right to the freedom of expression, and journalists face ever-growing pressure,” she said.

“Ongoing use of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act throughout India is worrying, with Jammu and Kashmir having among the highest number of cases in the country,” Bachelet said.

There was no official reaction to Bachelet’s comments. India, on multiple occasions, in the past strongly rejected the UN human rights chief’s criticisms relating to Jammu and Kashmir.

Referring to China, she talked about its new ‘National Action Plan on Human Rights 2021-2025’ which was released this month.

“I look forward to exploring it for possible areas of engagement and cooperation. I regret that I am not able to report progress on my efforts to seek meaningful access to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,” she said.

“In the meantime, my office is finalising its assessment of the available information on allegations of serious human rights violations in that region, with a view to making it public by the end of the year,” Bachelet said.

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