UN releases maiden report on Kashmir, seeks inquiry on abuses

Violations in Pakistan-administered Kashmir “are of a different caliber or magnitude”, the U.N. report said, while decrying restrictions on freedoms of expression and association.

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United Nations, June 14, 2018 (Only Kashmir): In a first of its kind report on Kashmir situation, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Thursday called for an international investigation into abuses in Kashmir, criticizing the Indian security forces in particular for inflicting mass civilian casualties in response to escalating protests there.
The first U.N. report on human rights in both Indian-administered and Pakistan-administered Kashmir urged Pakistan to end its “misuse” of anti-terror legislation to persecute peaceful activists and quash dissent.
“In responding to demonstrations that started in 2016, Indian security forces used excessive force that led to unlawful killings and a very high number of injuries,” the 49-page report said.



U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called for maximum restraint and denounced the lack of prosecutions of Indian forces in Jammu and Kashmir due to a 1990 law giving them what he called “virtual immunity”.
In a statement, Zeid called for a commission of inquiry by the Human Rights Council, which opens a three-week session in Geneva on Monday, into all violations. Alleged sites of mass graves in the Kashmir Valley and Jammu should be investigated, he said.
The report also said that the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009 imposes similar restrictions on freedom of expression and association of people under its jurisdiction.
The report also called for federal and local authorities to amend the constitutions of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to end the criminalization of the Ahmadiyya Muslims and to allow to them to freely and safely exercise their freedom of religion or belief.
Further, OHCHR recommended abolishing blasphemy provisions in Azad Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to facilitate the enjoyment of freedom of religion and belief by all people.
Violations in Pakistan-administered Kashmir “are of a different caliber or magnitude”, the U.N. report said, while decrying restrictions on freedoms of expression and association.



In New Delhi, India called the report a “selective compilation of largely unverified information” that sought to build “a false narrative”, adding that it violated the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“India rejects the report. It is fallacious, tendentious and motivated. We question the intent in bringing out such a report,” its foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement.
However, Pakistan said that it welcomed the international investigation into the issue, as proposed by the UN.
On ground zero, Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Kashmiri human rights activist Khurram Parvez, Parvez Imroz, Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society welcomed the report and the recommendation for a commission of inquiry by the U.N. Human Rights Council.