New Delhi, September 14 (NIA): India has rejected a request from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid to give access to troubled Kashmir for a team from his office, prompting him to express his dismay in his opening address to the 33 rd. session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on Tuesday.
Zeid said that Pakistan was willing to give access to a UN team to visit that part of Kashmir held by it, provided India gave access to its side.
While it is not known if India’s has officially responded to the UN request, India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesman, Vikas Swarup, said that an all-party conference which had sent a team to Kashmir to meet stakeholders there recently had dismissed the demand for any “external mission.”
“The high number of casualties sustained by Indian security forces is a reflection of the tremendous restraint they have displayed in difficult circumstances,” Swarup said in the statement rejecting both Pakistan’s contentions and the UN Human Rights Chief’s demand to investigate in India.
A few days ago, Times of India put out a story saying that India will politely reject the UN request stating the various steps taken to restore peace and amity in Kashmir and also pointing out that Pakistan has been instigating the violence in Kashmir and sheltering declared terrorist masterminds like Hafiz Sayeed who was responsible for the serial bomb blasts in Mumbai and who is now whipping up anti-India sentiments in Pakistan.
In his speech at the UNHRC on Tuesday, Zeid had said: “ Two months ago, I requested the agreement of the Governments of India and Pakistan to invite teams from my Office to visit both sides of the line of control: in other words the India-Administered Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir.”
“We had previously received reports, and still continue to do so, claiming the Indian authorities had used force excessively against the civilian population under its administration. We furthermore received conflicting narratives from the two sides as to the cause for the confrontations and the reported large numbers of people killed and wounded.”
“I believe an independent, impartial and international mission is now needed crucially and that it should be given free and complete access to establish an objective assessment of the claims made by the two sides.”
“I received last Friday a letter from the Government of Pakistan formally inviting an OHCHR team to the Pakistani side of the line of control, but in tandem with a mission to the Indian side. I have yet to receive a formal letter from the Government of India.”
“I therefore request here and publicly, from the two Governments, access that is unconditional to both sides of the line of control.”
Human Rights Is An International Issue
Zeid further said that human rights are not exclusively a national issue.
“Governments have the responsibility to uphold their human rights obligations and to respect the standards. But the human rights of all people, in all countries, also require – unquestionably – our collective attention. The Vienna Declaration, adopted unanimously 23 years ago, confirmed this: “the promotion and protection of all human rights is a legitimate concern of the international community.”
“This language was also echoed by GA Resolution 48/141, which calls on the High Commissioner to “play an active role in removing current obstacles… to the full realization of all human rights and in preventing the continuation of human rights violations throughout the world,” the Human Rights High Commissioner said.