UN Secretary General backs Zeid’s call for international investigation into human rights abuses in Kashmir, calls it ‘voice of the UN’

Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General on Thursday backed the Human Rights High Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s call for an international investigation into the violation of human rights in Kashmir.

Saying that the call represented the ‘voice of the UN’ at a news conference, Guterres named his own report on children in armed conflict in Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. He repudiated the India’s assertions, who had called it as ‘overstepping his mandate’ by saying that both reports covered the realm of “the general mandate of human rights instruments”.

“As you can imagine all the action of the Human Rights High Commissioner is an action that represents the voice of the UN in relation to that issue,” he stated at the conference.

In a response to an inquiry that pointed out the contradiction of the reports towards India’s stand on Kashmir being its integral part, Antonio said that there was a ‘distinction between political matters and human rights’.

“One thing is the definition of mechanisms for a political solution of a situation in a country and the other thing is the general mandate of human rights instruments in relation to human rights everywhere,” he said.

“What the Human Rights Commissioner did was the use of its own competencies and capacities as it does in all other parts of the world to report on what he considers to be relevant human rights violations,” he added.

ALSO READ: Accountability for rights abuse cannot be suspended while waiting for a political solution to Kashmir, says UNHRC Chief

He said the same principles applied to India’s saying that the situation in the three Indian states mentioned in Guterres’s report did not meet “a definition of armed conflict or of threat to maintenance of international peace and security.”

“The report is a report about situations in which the rights of children have been put into question,” he said.

Earlier, Antonio Gueterres had released a report in June accusing Jaish-e-Mohammed and Hizbul Mujahideen in Kashmir and Naxalites in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand of using children.

The report had blamed the Indian government for the injuries and killing of the children “in the context of operations of national security forces against armed groups.”

He claimed on a series of ‘unverified reports’ that the children were being used an informants and spies.

This development arrives after the UN published a 49 page report citing human rights violations by armed forces in Kashmir. India responded by calling the report ‘fallacious, tendentious and motivated’.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said the report was “overtly prejudiced” and sought to build a “false narrative”.

New Delhi had also lodged a strong protest on the use of terminology in the report, saying that the body had departed from internationally accepted terminology.

BJP had said in a statement that the UN was biased and that it hadn’t done its ‘homework’.

“In a country where even trees and other natural resources are revered, violation of human rights is unthinkable. The said UN seems to have concluded in a biased way without doing the homework. What they have said is totally ungrounded and BJP rejects it,” said Rajya Sabha MP and BJP national media chief Anil Baluni.

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