Pakistan seek big diplomatic victory against India at top World Body

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Pakistan seek big diplomatic victory against India at top World Body

UNITED NATIONS - Expressing serious concern over the deteriorating situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir, the United Nations said Tuesday that people in the disputed state continue to be deprived of a wide range of human rights, and called on India to fully restore their rights.

Since India’s annexation on August 5, occupied Kashmir remains under a military lockdown as people continue to suffer with markets and schools closed and transport off the roads manned by gun-totting Indian soldiers. Also, there are reports of shortages of food and medial supplies.

“We are extremely concerned that the population in Kashmir continues to be deprived of a wide range of human rights and we urge the Indian authorities to unlock the situation and fully restore the rights that are currently being denied,” Rupert Colville, Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said at a new briefing in Geneva.

Colville noted that curfew was reportedly still in place “in large parts of the Kashmir Valley, preventing the free movement of people, as well as hampering their ability to exercise their right to peaceful assembly and restricting their rights to health, education and freedom of religion and belief.”

Highlighting several allegations of excessive use of force against protesters that involved the use of “pellet-firing shotguns, tear gas and rubber bullets”, Colville said that there had also been unconfirmed reports of “at least six civilian killings and scores of serious injuries”, in separate incidents since the Indian Government declaration on August 5, to end the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Office of the High Commissioner had also received reports that armed groups in Indian-administered Kashmir have threatened some residents trying to work or go to school, the OHCHR spokesperson said.

In addition, “at least another six people have been killed and over a dozen injured in alleged attacks by armed group members, since 5 August”.

And although restrictions on landline telephones were eventually lifted, and a state-run telecom company allowed to resume partial mobile phone services, all internet services remain blocked in the Kashmir valley, Colville said.

In line with the Indian government’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s partial self-rule, two separate federally-administered Union Territories are to be created this Thursday, the OHCHR spokesperson explained, adding that “hundreds of political and civil society leaders” had been detained “on a preventative basis”.

While some political workers have reportedly been released, most senior leaders – especially those from the Kashmir Valley – remain in detention, he said.

“The Supreme Court of India has been slow to deal with petitions concerning habeas corpus, freedom of movement and media restrictions,” Colville said.

“The Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission, the State Information Commission (which implements the right-to-information laws) and the State Commission for Protection of Women and Child Rights are among key institutions being wound up, with the new bodies to replace them yet to be established.

“Meanwhile, major political decisions about the future status of Jammu and Kashmir have been taken without the consent, deliberation or active and informed participation of the affected population. Their leaders are detained, their capacity to be informed has been badly restricted, and their right to freedom of expression”.