Delhi Disengages With UN Rights Bodies On Kashmir

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Srinagar

India has refused information to UNHRC in 76 cases of torture and arbitrary killings, a news report said.

Three special rapporteurs of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) had sought details on steps taken to punish or provide justice to victims and their next of kin in these 76 cases in Jammu and Kashmir since 1990.

According to news website The Wire, the letter dated March 18, was written by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Dainius Puras and the on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Nils Melzer.

The report said the letter was made public on the UNHRC website on May 18 after a scheduled interval of 60 days, along with India’s reply that refused to provide any clarifications.

The letter relates to 76 cases of torture and killings of civilians, which include 13 cases of 2018. These 2018 cases included eight civilian killings allegedly by security forces, and the rest by militants, it said.

“In all these cases, the authorities have reportedly failed to conduct thorough, prompt and impartial investigations, so as to ensure that the rule of law prevails, and justice is done and steps are taken to ensure the non-recurrence of the violations,” wrote the three top UN officials, according to The Wire.

The special rapporteurs said that the eight cases related to security forces in 2018 “appear to be deliberate killings or excessive and careless use of firearms in the context of either demonstrations or social events”. There were also three cases last year of individuals being killed by militants, including one case of torture, as per the letter.

The special rapporteurs said that there was an anomaly in the filing of police complaints through first information reports in these cases. “It is not clear whether FIRs have been filed or whether magisterial inquiries have been undertaken, both of which the Supreme Court has ruled are mandatory for deaths involving the security forces,” The Wire quoted special rapporteurs as having said.

Special Rapporteur’s are mandated to seek clarifications from member countries on issues of human rights and other assigned subjects.

The special rapporteurs have also mentioned the Pulwama attack in the initial paragraphs of the letter. “We would like at the outset strongly condemn the suicide bomb attack against Indian security forces in the Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on February 14, 2019, which reportedly killed over 40 members of the Central Reserve Police Force,” they said.

Delhi’s response revolves round the mention of the OHCHR report that was released on June 14, 2018.  The Rapporteur’s have mentioned that they have taken a “note” of the report on the human rights situation in Kashmir. This has led to a strong reaction by Delhi insisting that India has already rejected the report.

“India rejects any reference whether implicit or explicit or any quote by any human rights mechanisms or bodies from the remote report published by the OHCHR on the situation of human rights in Kashmir in June 2018, India rejects the remote report and doubts on its credibility and objectivity. The Report begets the question of whether individual prejudices should be allowed to undermine the dignity and standing of the high office,” said the reply from the Permanent Mission of India to UN offices in Geneva.

Terming the report was “false and motivated”, India said that it was now a “closed chapter”.

Asserting that terrorism is the “grossest violation”, India stated that basic human right of “right to life is being constantly violated by cross border terrorism in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir”. It said the “heinous” attack on a convoy in Pulwama in February 2019 has only served to underline the criticality of addressing the issue of cross-border terrorism.

Indicating that it will not respond to the detailed questions from the special rapporteurs, the Indian reply harped on the mention of the Kashmir report as the reason to stop further engagement.

“India takes serious objection to using the already rejected report by the mandate holders that issued the communication AL IND 8/2019 dated 18 March 2019 to raise allegations against India. India, therefore, does not intend to engage further with these mandate holders or any other mandate holders on this issue,” said the letter dated April 23, according to the Wire.

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