United Nations human rights chief urges India to ease lockdown, curfew in Kashmir

Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari briefed the Senate Committee on Human Rights on Thursday about human rights violations committed by Indian forces in India-held Kashmir. — APP  File

Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari briefed the Senate Committee on Human Rights on Thursday about human rights violations committed by Indian forces in India-held Kashmir. — APP File

Geneva: The United Nations Human Rights Council took a serious view of India's recent lockdown in Kashmir as well as the plight of almost two million people in Assam with the publication of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

"I am deeply concerned about the impact of recent actions by the Government of India on the human rights of Kashmiris, including restrictions on internet communications and peaceful assembly, and the detention of local political leaders and activists", she said.

Bachelet asked India and Pakistan to ensure that the human rights of the people of Kashmir were respected and protected.

"Today, extremely important concerns have been raised by the High Commissioner for Human Rights at #HRC42 in her opening statement, significantly validating Pakistan's position on the worsening Kashmir crisis", Qureshi said on Twitter.

India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is scheduled to address the Human Rights Council on Tuesday, with a speech expected to focus heavily on the situation in Kashmir.

Asserting that the abrogation of Article 370 of its Constitution to withdraw J&K's special status was its "internal matter", India has defended imposition of restrictions in the Kashmir Valley on the grounds that they were put to prevent Pakistan from creating more mischief through proxies and terrorists.

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According to sources, it is still not clear whether Pakistan, backed by China, will try to call for a vote on the issue of Kashmir at Geneva.

"I'm willing to help them", Trump told reporters in response to a question. The report was immediately dismissed by India and New Delhi refused to engage with United Nations experts who referenced the document.

A second United Nations human rights report in 13 months on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir had accusations about rising human rights violations and deaths of civilians between May 2018 and April 2019.

Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir has been under a near-complete lockdown since August 5, after India scrapped its special status. They described the measures as a "collective punishment" for the population.

Meanwhile, late last month on the sidelines of G7 summit in France, Trump said he and Modi talked about Kashmir and he feels that both India and Pakistan can resolve the issue.

Further on, the UNHRC chief also referred to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.

The final National Register of Citizens (NRC) list in Assam was published on August 31, including names of 3.1 crore people and leaving out 19 lakh names. "I appeal to the government to ensure due process during the appeals process, prevent deportation or detention, and ensure people are protected from statelessness", she stated.

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