Skip to main content

"First-ever" UN human rights report on Kashmir calls for international inquiry into "violations" on both sides of LoC

By Our Representative
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 -- the first-ever seeking an international inquiry into "multiple violations" in both parts of Kashmir, controlled by Indian and Pakistan -- has said.
Releasing the report on June 14, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has said, “The political dimensions of the dispute between India and Pakistan have long been centre-stage, but this is not a conflict frozen in time. It is a conflict that has robbed millions of their basic human rights, and continues to this day to inflict untold suffering.”
Insisting that a 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,” Zeid says, he proposes to urge the UN Human Rights Council to establish a commission of inquiry to conduct a "comprehensive independent international investigation into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir.”
Talking of "excessive use of force by security forces in Kashmir,” the report regrets that the UN Human Rights Office, despite repeated requests to both India and Pakistan over the past two years, has not been given "unconditional access" to either side of the Line of Control. This led to a situation where it had to do "remote monitoring" to produce the report, covering both the sides.
Especially referring to Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) events starting July 2016 -- when "large and unprecedented demonstrations erupted after Indian security forces killed the leader of an armed group" -- the report blames Indian security forces for using "excessive force that led to unlawful killings and a very high number of injuries."
Citing civil society estimates, the report says, "Up to 145 civilians were killed by the security forces between mid-July 2016 and the end of March 2018, with up to 20 other civilians killed by armed groups in the same period", adding, "One of the most dangerous weapons used against protesters in 2016 – and which is still being employed by security forces – was the pellet-firing shotgun."
It adds, "According to official figures, 17 people were killed by shotgun pellets between July 2016 and August 2017, and 6,221 people were injured by the metal pellets between 2016 and March 2017. Civil society organizations believe that many of them have been partially or completely blinded."
The report notes, the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act 1990 (AFSPA) and the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act 1978 (PSA) have “created structures that obstruct the normal course of law, impede accountability and jeopardize the right to remedy for victims of human rights violations.”
Pointing out that the AFSPA prohibits prosecution of security forces personnel unless the Government of India grants prior permission to prosecute, the report says, “This gives security forces virtual immunity against prosecution for any human rights violation." It adds, "In the nearly 28 years that the law has been in force in J&K there has not been a single prosecution of armed forces personnel.”
Referring to what it calls "chronic impunity for sexual violence also remains a key concern in Kashmir", the report refers to "emblematic case is the Kunan-Poshpora mass rape 27 years ago when, according to survivors, soldiers gang-raped 23 women", and yet “attempts to seek justice have been denied and blocked over the years at different levels.”
At the same time, the report says, armed groups operating in Jammu & Kashmir since the late 1980s are equally responsible for "committing "a wide range of human rights abuses, including kidnappings and killings of civilians and sexual violence", adding, despite Pakistan denying any support for these groups, experts have confirmed, its military "continues to support their operations across the Line of Control."
Examining human rights violations in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) which are "of a more structural nature", the report says, here, there are restrictions on freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association. Pointing out that the situation is not very different in Gilgit-Baltistan, it adds, hundreds of people have been imprisoned in this region under an anti-terrorist law, misused against anyone raising "issues related to people’s human rights."
Asking India to "urgently repeal the AFSPA", the report seeks establishment of "independent, impartial and credible investigations to probe all civilian killings since July 2016", the report seeks "reparations and rehabilitation to all injured individuals and to the families of those killed in the context of security operations."
At the same time, it 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. Also, it says, PoK's interim constitution should be amended to allow rights to freedoms of expression and opinion, and peaceful assembly and association.

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

PepsiCo warned: Withdraw cases against Gujarat farmers or face dire consequences

By Our Representative
About 200 farmers’ leaders and activists, in a letter to Dr KV Prabhu, chairperson, Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPVFRA), and Dr R C Agrawal, registrar general, PPVFRA, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India, have demanded that PepsiCo immediately withdraw all the legal suits it has slapped on many potato farmers in different districts of Gujarat.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

During Emergency, the ruler was extolled but Opposition wasn't punched around: Scribe

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released book, “India: The Wrong Transition”, by a top Delhi-based scribe Anand K Sahay, has quoted “journalistic circles” to say that the Indian mainstream media – with certain “honourable exceptions” – has virtually abandoned the “practice of journalism”, and  this happened following a “sting operation” that showed that “the crème de la crème of Indian journalism were only too willing, for a suitable price, to let poisonous Hindutva propaganda prevail in their news columns.”

Ex-IAS, IPS, IFS officers tell Modi: Pragya Thakur doesn't represent India's rich heritage

Counterview Desk
In an open statement, a group of former civil servants have said that normally they would have dismissed the candidature of Pragya Thakur, who is BJP’s choice for the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, as an act of political expediency. However, they were forced to react to her candidature after none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed has as a “symbol of our civilisational heritage.”

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".