Support for India, PAK isolated at UN: RSTV – India’s World

UN report on human rights abuse in Kashmir ‘fallacious’ says India

Context

  • This is UN’s report on the human rights situation in Kashmir on either side of the LoC

United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council Membership

  • Pakistan, along with 11 other countries, was elected as a member state of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council by the body’s General Assembly, securing more than two-thirds of the vote in 2017.
  • Other countries elected by the UN General Assembly include Australia, Afghanistan, Nepal, Qatar, Congo, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, Chile, Mexico and Peru.
  • They will serve on the 47-member council from January 2018 through the end of 2020.
  • Pakistan is in the Council and in the Working Group on Situations of the Council. India is not in the Council till 2020. Therefore, India cannot vote or influence any proposal to take action on the HCHR report in the Council or its working group

What did the Report say?

  • The 49-page report focused on the human rights situation in the State between January 2016 and April 2018 during which violence escalated.
  • In view of the spiraling terrorism and counter-terror operations, the report urged India to ratify the
    • International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance
    • Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its Optional Protocol.
  • The report sought repeal of the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 (AFSPA) “urgently” and also “immediately remove the requirement for prior central government permission to prosecute security forces personnel accused of human rights violations in civilian courts.”

MEA Statement

  • “It is a selective compilation of largely unverified information. It is overtly prejudiced and seeks to build a false narrative. The report violates India’s sovereignty and integrity”
  • The MEA said India does not recognize the geographical territories as defined in the report: “The incorrect description of Indian territory in the report is mischievous, misleading and unacceptable. There are no entities such as ‘Azad Jammu and Kashmir’ and ‘Gilgit-Baltistan.’
  • The terminology used by the report – describing Burhan Wani as a “leader” of the Hizbul Mujahideen. Similarly, groups like HuM and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba were described as “armed groups”.
    • To which India said it is disturbing that those behind this report have chosen to describe internationally designated and UN-proscribed terrorist entities as “armed groups” and terrorists as “leaders”. This undermines the UN led consensus on zero tolerance to terrorism

Issue Area

  • This report is a biased one as the council did not ask the commission to prepare the report
  • It was drafted on using remote monitoring, without any rigorous cross-verification on the ground, with no interviews from people who matter, amounting to biases of individuals and media reports creeping into the report. So it is a prejudice Perception.
  • There is no mention of PoK as the report feels PoK is structurally different. So it means in case there is a commission enquiry the enquiry commission would not visit PoK or just brush over and focus entirely on Kashmir.
  • The report does not speak about terrorism on ground and grave human rights violations are not considered. So there was a personalized agenda.
  • India is a vibrant Democracy with elections conducted in a free and a fair way. So any trouble in the region is due to terror funding from Pakistan which is sourced through ISI which the report fails to understand.
  • The report looks at violations for only a restricted period. It has failed to consider the past, the issues and source. If the report had to be taken seriously it should have considered the reality from year 1947 and how things have evolved.

So is the report a violation of High commissioner’s mandate?

  • Not any time before has the report been produced Suo moto, only on the description of high commissioner
    • Even if it was to be conducted it needs recommendation from council, or General assembly or by Security Council
  • So by producing a report of this nature the institution’s credibility has been undermined

Self-determination

  • Self-determination is to be exercised in colonial context but when the country is free self-determination cannot be used to break the country as mentioned in Vienna Declaration
  • So principle of Self-determination is not absolute and must not be used as a pretext to interfere with the territorial integrity of existing States.

Support for India

  • During the ‘General debate on the overall update of the High Commissioner on the situation of Human Rights worldwide and on the activities of his office’ at the Human Rights Council, the Kashmir report was discussed, and six nations rejected the report authored by Zeid Raad Al Hussein.
  • This includes Bhutan, Afghanistan, Mauritius, Belarus, Cuba and Venezuela.
    • The Mauritian representative, questioned the assessment on Kashmir and stood with India rejecting any third party intervention.
  • Not a single country came out in support of either Pakistan or the OHCHR report on Kashmir, while many questioned the timing and the veracity of the report itself.

Way forward

  • The remote monitoring procedure performed by UN has a procedural flaw. Amnesty International when it is looking into violations of human rights also adds a copy of the respective state’s reaction in appendix but this has not been met by UN report.
  • So with Pakistan credibility at all time low and India’s reputation on the world stage not questionable, this report can be ignored as there are other cases of importance world over including the children issue on Mexico- USA border.
  • At the same time India should also make use of its goodwill, so that countries come in strong support of India openly.

 

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