India cuts off communication with UN panel after HR report on JK

India cuts off communication with UN panel after HR report on JK
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Reacting angrily to a submission from the Geneva-based Human Rights Council (HRC) on the alleged violations in Jammu and Kashmir, India has informed the United Nations body that it will no longer entertain any communication with the HRC's Special Rapporteurs on its report.

According to The Hindu. the report from the UN body came atthe same time a report from two NGOs in the State on the alleged cases oftorture was released in Srinagar, which was endorsed by a former UN SpecialRapporteur.

The current Special Rapporteurs on Extrajudicial Executions,Torture, and Right to Health — Agnes Callamard, Dainius Puras and Nils Melzer —had referred to a June 2018 report of the Office of the High Commissioner ofHuman Rights (OHCHR) and written to the government in March 2019, asking aboutsteps taken by New Delhi to address the alleged human rights violations listedin the report.

In addition, the Special Rapporteurs had listed "13 cases ofconcern" from 2018 alone, in which "four children were among eight civilianskilled by members of the security forces."

Rejecting all the claims, the Indian Permanent Mission tothe United Nations in Geneva replied to the OHCHR on April 23, saying that"India… does not intend to engage further with these mandate-holders or anyother mandate-holders on the issue," whom it accused of "individual prejudice".

India had also rejected the OHCHR's report on the 'Situationof Human Rights in Kashmir' — the first-ever such report on Jammu and Kashmirthat came out in June 2018 — and accused the High Commissioner of Human RightsZeid Ra'ad Al Hussein of "clear bias" in bringing it out.

When asked, the Ministry of External Affairs clarified thatIndia's stand on not engaging with the Special Rapporteurs was only for thosewishing to refer to the OHCHR report.

However, UN officials say that India is already incontravention of several Conventions it has committed to, including a "StandingInvitation" signed in 2011 to all special rapporteurs to visit India. Accordingto the UN records, more than 20 such visit requests, including to Jammu andKashmir, are pending at present. UN sources also said that between 2016-2018,the OHCHR Special Rapporteurs had sent as many as 58 communications, and hadreceived no response other than the April 23 letter on Jammu and Kashmir.

"The only response so far has been to the communicationrelating to Jammu and Kashmir….The last visit was by the Special Rapporteur onwater and sanitation, in October-November 2017," a UN communications officialsaid in reply to queries from The Hindu.

The UN submission on Jammu and Kashmir coincided with therelease of an extensive 560-page report on Monday, prepared by the J&Kbased Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and the J&KCoalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). The report, entitled 'Torture: IndianState's Instrument of Control in J&K', documented 432 cases of suspectedhuman rights violations allegedly by security forces of which only 27 had beeninvestigated by the State Human Rights Commission.

 (The Hindu)

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