India also slammed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet’s comments on human rights abuses in Kashmir, calling them “unwarranted.”
By The Newster
A day after when the UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet raised human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, India defied the claims by calling it ‘unwarranted’ and nowhere near ground reality.
On Monday, September 13, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, gave an update on the global human rights situation at the 48th session of the Human Rights Council.
Bachelet stated in her speech that her office would be concluding claims of significant human rights breaches in China’s Xinjiang province in the near future. She also expressed alarm about questionable activities in a number of countries, including the Central African Republic and Palestine.
“Restrictions on public assembly, as well as regular temporary communication outages, continue in Jammu and Kashmir, while hundreds of individuals remain detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression, and journalists face ever-increasing pressure”, she said about India.
“Worrying” use of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in Kashmir
She also mentioned that India’s “worrying” use of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act was the greatest in the world.
“While I applaud the government’s efforts to combat terrorism and encourage regional development, such restrictive policies can lead to human rights breaches and fuel tensions and discontent”, she added.
“We take note of references to India in the oral update by the High Commissioner and express our disappointment over her unwarranted remarks on the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, which do not reflect the ground reality”, MEA secretary (west) Reenat Sandhu said during the general debate on the oral update by the High Commissioner.
She asserted that fundamental human rights are enshrined in India’s constitution. “Our Parliament, independent judiciary, dynamic media, and lively civil society ensure that our people have full enjoyment of their human rights,” Sandhu said.
She also appeared to criticise the multilateral system’s approach to global human rights advocacy, claiming that engaging troubled states would be the best method. India has not voted in favour of country-specific resolutions in the past, with a few exceptions.
“We believe that the greatest way to promote and preserve human rights is for states to engage in discourse, consultation, and collaboration, as well as provide technical support and capacity building. Any violations of human rights must be addressed in a transparent and impartial manner, based on respect for national sovereignty and non-interference in states’ internal affairs”, Sandhu added.
She emphasised that New Delhi was in the “forefront of global action and discourse on the promotion and protection of human rights,” and that India was seeking re-election to the Human Rights Council for the term 2022-24.
Bachelet also gave an oral update on the situation in Afghanistan. “Reports of civilian casualties and human rights violations as a result of fighting in Panjshir valley, as well as the escalating misery caused by the severe humanitarian situation there”, the UN official said.
She was also concerned that, despite pledges, the Taliban authorities were rapidly pushing women out of the public sphere. Despite the Taliban’s declaration of a general amnesty, the senior UN official mentioned “credible claims” of killings of former security employees.
In her statement, the senior Indian official also mentioned the “grave situation” in Afghanistan. Sandhu stated that, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2593, women’s, children’s, and minorities’ human rights should be upheld, as well as safe passage for those seeking to leave Afghanistan and unrestricted access to humanitarian aid. “The international world must support Afghanistan’s people in their desire to live in peace and dignity.”