India not allowing us to visit, allegations of human rights violations very grave: UN Special Rapporteur

Nilz Melzer, United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, said that the allegations that ‘550-page report on human torture in Kashmir’ by two local NGOs is making are very serious and might be very grave violations of human rights.

He said that despite making several requests to the Indian government for the visit, “He hasn’t received any response so far.”

When asked in an interview, if the Indian state can be held accountable under the UN convention against torture, he responded that while no state can be forced to ratify a treaty, however abolition of torture is not dependent on ratification of any treaty but rather is a fundamental customary human right.

In March 2019, three UN Rapporteur send a submission to India asking to take action against human rights violation, which Indian govt rejected while stating that “it will no longer engage with them regarding this issue.”

The report from the UN body came at the same time a report from two NGOs in the State on the alleged cases of torture was released in Srinagar, which was endorsed by a former UN Special Rapporteur.

The UN submission on Jammu and Kashmir coincided with the release of an extensive 560-page report on Monday, prepared by the Jammu and Kashmir Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and the J&K Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). The report, entitled ‘Torture: Indian State’s Instrument of Control in J&K’, documented 432 cases of human rights violations and brutality by security forces of which only 27 had been investigated by the State Human Rights Commission.

The report claimed that nearly “70% of torture victims in Jammu and Kashmir were civilians (not militants) and 11% died during or as a result of torture”. The cases included incidents of electrocution, ‘water-boarding’ and sexual torture, which the government has repeatedly denied.