UN Kashmir report on HR: There is nothing in the UN HR office report that is not common knowledge, but it lends authentication to it, particularly the chain of events since 2016

The report has documented HR violations and failure to deliver justice to people in JK State for seven decades, while the raging conflict continues to claim and ruin lives.

Dr. Javid Iqbal
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jun 22 2018 9:40PM | Updated Date: Jun 22 2018 9:40PM
UN Kashmir report on HR: There is nothing in the UN HR office report that is not common knowledge, but it lends authentication to it, particularly the chain of events since 2016File Photo

The UN Human Rights (HR) Office report on HR violations and abuses on both sides of LoC needs to be registered and addressed with all the earnestness that it deserves. The report has documented HR violations and failure to deliver justice to people in JK State for seven decades, while the raging conflict continues to claim and ruin lives. In a marked comment, the report implies according respect to the right of self-determination for people of Jammu and Kashmir State, as per the international law.  While the civil society organizations and probes by human rights commissions over the years have published multiple reports on HR violations in Kashmir, the UN so far refrained from publishing a comprehensive report. 

The 49 page report highlights a situation of chronic impunity for violations committed by security forces. While the focus remains on HR violations, the report takes the larger dimension in view—the failure of conflict resolution. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said as much, “The political dimensions of the dispute between India and Pakistan have long been centre-stage, but this is not a conflict frozen in time. It is a conflict that has robbed millions of their basic human rights, and continues to this day to inflict untold suffering.” It is in fact the raging conflict that has resulted in miserable state of the populace in conflict zone. The nationalistic egos are massaged at the cost of holding back the people of erstwhile JK state from deciding their political future out of their own free will.  

The nationalistic ego blinds perceptions, resulting in miscarriage of justice in numerous instances. The report lists HR challenges in the face of draconian laws put in place to obstruct justice, “Impunity for human rights violations and lack of access to justice are key human rights challenges in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” says the report. It notes that the AFSPA promulgated in1990 and Public Safety Act (PSA) in 1978 have “created structures that obstruct the normal course of law, impede accountability and jeopardize the right to remedy for victims of human rights violations.” AFSPA, says the report, prohibits prosecution of security forces personnel unless the Indian Government grants prior permission to prosecute, and in nearly 28 years that the law has been in force in Jammu and Kashmir there has not been a single prosecution of armed forces personnel granted by the central government.

There is thus a total miscarriage of justice, as security forces have virtual immunity against prosecution for any human rights violation. And, also chronic impunity for sexual violence is quoted in the report; the instance of Kunan-Poshpora mass rape is cited to endorse the claim. The report notes, “An emblematic case is the Kunan-Poshpora mass rape 27 years ago when, according to survivors, soldiers’ gang-raped 23 women.”  The total impunity extends to enforced or involuntary disappearances. In all such instances of HR violations including the alleged sites of mass graves, the lack of movement towards credibly investigating complaints, evokes concern in the report.  “Attempts to seek justice have been denied and blocked over the years at different levels,” says the report.

The report of UN Human Rights Office could be called hampered, as it is based on remote monitoring. It would have been in fitness of things to accord the international body an unconditional access to either side of LoC. However, as it stands, despite repeated requests to both India and Pakistan over the past two years, unconditional access was not provided. Nevertheless, it could be argued that there is nothing in the UN HR office report that is not common knowledge. The UN report lends authentication to it, particularly the chain of events since 2016, widely reported in international press. The UN report markedly concentrates on the period between July 2016 and April 2018. July 2016 marked the killing of Burhan Wani, when as the UN report says large and unprecedented demonstrations erupted. Vis-à-vis the period noted, the report reads, “Indian security forces used excessive force that led to unlawful killings and a very high number of injuries.’’ Citing civil society estimates, the report says that up to 145 civilians were killed by the security forces between mid-July 2016 and the end of March 2018, with up to 20 other civilians killed by armed groups in the same period.

The report quotes civil society organizations on many partially or completely blinded. New York Times called 2016, the ‘Year of Dead Eyes’ in one of its many reports on the Kashmir scene. The destructive weapon, the pellet firing shotgun finds mention in the report. The lethality of the so called non-lethal weapon is amply proved by the note in the report. The report quotes official figures as relating that between July 2016 and August 2017, 17 people were killed by shotgun pellets, and between 2016 and March 2017, 6,221 people were injured by the metal pellets. The saga continues. That is why Zeid Raad Al Hussein says, “any resolution of the political situation in Kashmir must entail a commitment to end the cycles of violence and ensure accountability for past and current violations and abuses by all parties, and provide redress for victims.’’ It is exactly why, UN Human Rights Council should consider establishing a commission of inquiry to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigation into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir, as Zeid Raad Al Hussein emphasizes. 

Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]

iqbal.javid46@gmail.com  

 

 

x
This site uses cookies to deliver our services and to show you relevant news and ads. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Service.That's Fine