India has voiced regret over the issue of Jammu and Kashmir being raised in the UNHRC after High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet made a reference to Kashmir during her opening statement to the Council.
Bachelet, the new UN human rights commissioner who succeeded Zeid Raad al-Hussein, in her opening statement to the Council on Monday made a reference to Kashmir, saying the Human Rights Council’s recent report on the human rights situation “has not been followed up with meaningful improvements, or even open and serious discussions on how the grave issues raised could be addressed”.
“The people of Kashmir have exactly the same rights to justice and dignity as people all over the world, and we urge the authorities to respect them. The Office continues to request permission to visit both sides of the Line of Control, and in the meantime, will continue its monitoring and reporting,” she said.
Expressing regret over the remarks, Permanent Representative of India to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Rajiv Chander said India had made its views “abundantly clear” on this matter in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
“Madam High Commissioner, there is no denying that these are challenging times including for this body. It is important, therefore, that human rights issues are addressed constructively with respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity in a transparent and credible manner.
“We regret that reference has been made to the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir. Our views on this matter have been made abundantly clear in the Council,” Chander said.
Speaking at the 39th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, Chander said terrorism was the biggest scourge and the greatest violator of human rights and expressed hope that Bachelet would address this issue more emphatically in the coming years.
Bachelet also welcomed last week’s decision by India’s Supreme Court to decriminalise same-sex relations.
“Laws that criminalise consensual adult relationships are, as Chief Justice Misra said, manifestly arbitrary and a source of discrimination and harassment. I very much hope other countries around the world will look to India’s example in this respect,” she said, referring to the remarks by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Farukh Amil also raised the Kashmir issue in his statement, saying Islamabad also shared Bachelet’s “anguish” that the report on the human rights situation in Kashmir “has not been followed up”.
Meanwhile, The joint resistance leadership, a conglomeration of the separatist leaders, hailed the statement of the newly appointed High Commissioner for the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), Michelle Bachelet, describing it a ray of hope for all those “facing the brunt of human rights violations” in the conflict zones of the world.
The joint resistance leaders — Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik — while expressing concern over the deteriorating health condition and the inhuman treatment meted out to the prisoners in different jails in and outside J&K, said: “Our prisoners face the wrath of communal frenzy at the hands of fascist jail authorities.”
The separatist leaders also appealed to the UNHRC and all such organisations of the world to take a serious note of the alleged gross violations of human rights at the hands of security forces in J&K.
Meanwhile, the J&K High Court Bar Association also expressed its satisfaction on Michelle Bachelet’s statement, urging upon India and Pakistan to take meaningful action on addressing the issues highlighted in the UN report on human rights violations in Kashmir. “The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has very rightly stated that the people of Kashmir have same rights to justice and dignity as people all over the world, which should be respected by everyone,” the Bar Association said.