See More on Facebook

Diplomacy, Politics

UN body demands full restoration of human rights in India-occupied Kashmir

India has been making international overtures regarding its Kashmir decisions but will see this as a sharp rebuke.


Written by

Updated: October 30, 2019

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) on Tuesday expressed “extreme concern” over human rights abuses in India-occupied Kashmir and asked the Indian authorities to “fully restore” human rights in the occupied territory.

UNHCHR Spokesperson Rupert Colville in a statement said that the international human rights body is “extremely concerned that the population of India-occupied Kashmir continues to be deprived of a wide range of human rights and we urge the Indian authorities to unlock the situation and fully restore the rights that are currently being denied”.

“On August 5, the government of India revoked constitutional provisions granting partial autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir and announced the creation of two separate federally-administered Union Territories, which will come into effect this Thursday (October 31),” the statement said, adding that at the same time, very restrictive measures were imposed.

“Although some of these measures have been relaxed, their impact on human rights continues to be widely felt,” the spokesperson said.

The UNHCHR said that the undeclared curfew imposed by the authorities in the region was lifted from much of Jammu and Ladakh region within a few days, but is reportedly still in place in large parts of the Kashmir Valley, preventing the free movement of people, as well as hampering their ability to exercise their right to peaceful assembly, and restricting their rights to health, education and freedom of religion and belief.

“There have been several allegations of excessive use of force including the use of pellet-firing shotguns, tear gas and rubber bullets by security forces during sporadic protests, with unconfirmed reports of at least six civilian killings and scores of serious injuries in separate incidents since August 5,” it added.

The UN body said that it has also received reports of armed groups operating in India-occupied Kashmir, threatening residents who are trying to carry out their normal business or attend school, as well as several allegations of violence against people who have not complied with the armed groups’ demands.

At least another six people have been killed and over a dozen injured in alleged attacks by armed group members since August 5, it noted in its statement.

According to the statement, hundreds of political and civil society leaders, including three former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, have been detained on a preventative basis. While some political workers have reportedly been released, most senior leaders — especially those from the occupied Kashmir Valley — remain in detention.

“We have also received a number of allegations of torture and ill-treatment of people held in detention. These must be independently and impartially investigated,” the UN human rights body said, adding that torture is totally and unequivocally prohibited under international laws.

“While restrictions on landline telephones were eventually lifted, and a state-run telecom company allowed to resume partial mobile services, all internet services remain blocked in the Kashmir Valley. Media outlets continue to face undue restrictions, with at least four local journalists allegedly arrested in the past three months.”

The human rights body also criticised the Indian judiciary over the way it is dealing with the situation in occupied Kashmir. “The Supreme Court of India has been slow to deal with petitions concerning habeas corpus, freedom of movement and media restrictions,” it said.

“The Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission, the State Information Commission [which implements the right-to-information laws] and the State Commission for Protection of Women and Child Rights are among key institutions being wound up, with the new bodies to replace them yet to be established,” observed the body in its statement.

The UN human rights body also said that major political decisions about the future status of Jammu and Kashmir have been taken without the consent, deliberation or active and informed participation of the affected population. “Their leaders are detained, their capacity to be informed has been badly restricted, and their right to freedom of expression and to political participation has been undermined.”



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Dawn
About the Author: Dawn is Pakistan's oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy, Politics

Dr M: Cabinet reshuffle, possibly before Apec

Malaysia’s ruling party suffered heavily in a recent bi-election. A Cabinet reshuffle must take place, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The Prime Minister said that there will be some ministers who will be dropped but added that it will not be today or tomorrow. “Very likely before Malaysia hosts the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit next year,” said Dr Mahathir. Admitting that reshuffling would not be a solution to recover the waning popularity of Pakatan Harapan ruling coalition, as reflected in the recent Tanjung Piai by-election defeat, Dr Mahathir said it has to be done anyway. Pakatan received its worst by-election defeat in Tanjung Piai when its Bersatu candidate lost by more than 15,000 votes to MCA of Barisan Nasional on Nov 16. He said that the reshuffle should not be “radical” so as to affect the preparations of Malaysia to host Ap


By The Star
November 21, 2019

Diplomacy, Politics

Court turns thumbs down on Thanathorn

The opposition leader loses his MP status. The Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday (November 20) that Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of the Future Forward Party, lost his status as a member of Parliament on May 23, having registered to run in the March election while still holding shares in V Luck Media, in violation of the law. The court cited Articles 98 and 42 of the 2017 Constitution and the Organic Act on Election to the House of Representatives in characterising Thanathorn as prohibited from being elected as an MP. The Election Commission brought the matter to court, accusing him of still holding 675,000 shares in his family-owned media company when he registered his candidacy in the general election. Thanathorn failed to prove that he had transferred all shares to his mother, Somporn Juangroongruangkit, before registering.


By The Nation (Thailand)
November 21, 2019

Diplomacy, Politics

China opposes passage of HK bill by US Senate

The bill criticizes the response to protesters in Hong Kong. China firmly opposes the passage of a Hong Kong-related bill by the United States Senate, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Wednesday, urging the US side to stop pushing the bill to become law and stop interfering in China’s domestic affairs. Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang made the remarks in an online statement after the US Senate passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act on Tuesday. Noting the act ignores facts and truth, applies double standards and blatantly interferes in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs, Geng said it is in serious violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations. China condemns and firmly opposes it, he said, adding that the country will take strong countermeasures to defend national sovereignty, security and development interests if the


By China Daily
November 21, 2019

Diplomacy, Politics

Trade disputes between Korea and Japan show no sign of abating

President Moon Jae-in blames Japan’s export controls for GSOMIA withdrawal. Escalating trade tension between South Korea and Japan shows no sign of abating as two rounds of bilateral talks to resolve disputes triggered by Japan’s export curbs could not reach common ground. On Tuesday, the two neighboring nations held the second round of talks at the World Trade Organization in Geneva after failing to reach a consensus at the first consultations on Oct. 11. “During two rounds of six-hour intensive consultations, the two nations became more aware of each other’s measures and positions in the process. But we don’t think the two sides have changed their positions,” Chung Hae-kwan, director general in charge of legal affairs at the Trade Ministry, told reporters at a press briefing in Geneva following a meeting with his Japanese counterparts on Tuesday. “We pointed out that Japan’s exp


By The Korea Herald
November 21, 2019

Diplomacy, Politics

PM Imran welcomes release of 2 hostages by Taliban in Afghanistan

Pakistan has stakes in any high level talks between the Taliban and the United States. The Taliban insurgents released two Western hostages — Kevin King from the United States and Timothy Weeks from Australia — on Tuesday in a prisoner exchange deal with the Afghan government, two Afghan officials said. “This morning at around 10am two American University professors were released in Nawbahar district of Zabul province. They were flown out of Zabul by American helicopters,” a local police source said. “The two professors are safely freed and are being taken care of now,” one of the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters. The American and Australian were exchanged with three Taliban leaders, including key militant figure Anas Haqqani, added Reuters. Three Taliban sources in the province also confirmed the release. There was, h


By Dawn
November 20, 2019

Diplomacy, Politics

Moon says volunteer military system needs time

The president says South Korea will transition to a volunteer army. South Korea needs to move to a volunteer military system, but the switch from the current conscription system will need time and preparation, President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday. “(A volunteer system) is something our society must move toward. But at present, the conditions are not right to introduce a volunteer system, (the change) needs to be planned in the mid- to long-term,” Moon said, speaking in a live televised question-and-answer session with 300 selected civilians. Moon said that measures such as increasing the number of professional soldiers and improving military har


By The Korea Herald
November 20, 2019