UN Rights Chief On J&K: 'Deeply Concerned'

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Monday said that she was “deeply concerned” over the “impact of recent actions” by the Indian government on the “human rights of Kashmiris” including the detention of political leaders and activists in Jammu and Kashmir.

Addressing the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council meeting here Bachelet said: “In relation to Kashmir, my Office continues to receive reports on the human rights situation on both sides of the line of control. I am deeply concerned about the impact of recent actions by the Government of India on the human rights of Kashmiris, including restrictions on internet communications and peaceful assembly, and the detention of local political leaders and activists.”

Bachelet said that she has explicitly urged India to ease the current lockdowns or curfews and ensure people’s access to basic services in the region.

“While I continue to urge the Governments of India and Pakistan to ensure that human rights are respected and protected, I have appealed particularly to India to ease the current lockdowns or curfews; to ensure people’s access to basic services; and that all due process rights are respected for those who have been detained,” she said.

The High Commissioner said it was important that the people of Kashmir are consulted and engaged in any decision-making processes that have an impact on their future.

Regarding the National Register of Citizens (NRC) verification process in Assam, Bachelet said that the process has caused great uncertainty and anxiety, with some 1.9 million people having been excluded from the final list published on August 31

She appealed the Indian government to ensure “due process during the appeals process, prevent deportation or detention, and ensure people are protected from statelessness.”

The final list of Assam’s NRC was released on August 31, 2019. More than 19 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants in Assam were left out of the final National Register of Citizens. A total of 3,11,21,004 persons found eligible for inclusion in the final NRC list.

India’s Ministry of Home Affairs has assured that those excluded in the final list will not be immediately sent to dentition centres and they can appeal. (ANI)

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