India today categorically rejected a UN report alleging human rights violations in Kashmir and termed the report as “fallacious, tendentious and motivated”.
The 49-page Report published on Thursday detailed the human rights violations and abuses on both sides of the Line of Control, and highlighted a situation of “chronic impunity” for violations committed by security forces and called for an international inquiry into multiple violations and abuses on both sides of the Line of Control (LOC).
This is the first ever report issued by the UNHRC on the human rights situation in both Indian-Administered and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir.
The main focus of the report was the human rights situation in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir from July 2016 when large demonstrations erupted after Indian security forces killed the leader of an armed militant group. It stated that Indian security forces used excessive force that led to unlawful killings.
The report also criticized the provisions of the draconian Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act 1990 (AFSPA) and the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act 1978 (PSA) stating that these legislations have “created structures that obstruct the normal course of law, impede accountability and jeopardize the right to remedy for victims of human rights violations.”
The report also pointed out that the armed groups that have operated in Jammu and Kashmir since the late 1980s have committed a wide range of human rights abuses, including kidnappings and killings of civilians and sexual violence.
It pointed out that despite the Government of Pakistan’s denial of any support for these armed groups active in Kashmir, a number of experts have found that Pakistan’s military continue to support their operations across the Line of Control.
“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,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.
Mr. Zeid went ahead to urge the UN Human Rights Council to consider establishing a commission of inquiry to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigation into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir. He also called on Indian security forces to exercise maximum restraint, and strictly abide by international standards governing the use of force when dealing with future protests, including ones that could well occur this coming weekend.
The report called on India and Pakistan to fully respect their international human rights law obligations in Indian-Administered and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir respectively.
Reacting strongly to the report, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the report is “overtly prejudiced” and seeks to build a “false narrative”, and questioned the motive and intent behind the publication of the report. The Ministry termed the UN report a selective compilation of largely unverified information and stated that it violates India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.