UN Human Rights Council flags Kashmir lockdown, NRC impact

UN Human Rights Council flags Kashmir lockdown, NRC impact
Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. (Photo: UN/IANS)
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Geneva: The United Nations Human Rights Council took a serious view of India's recent lockdown in Kashmir as well as the plight of nearly two million people in Assam with the publication of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet voiced deep concerns at the impact of “recent actions by the Government of India” at the 42nd session of the UN agency.

"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.

"It is important that the people of Kashmir are consulted and engaged in any decision-making processes that have an impact on their future," she said.

She also mentioned the NRC process in Assam.

Bachelet said the NRC "verification process in the Northeast Indian state of Assam has caused great uncertainty and anxiety, with some 1.9 million people excluded from the final list published on August 31.

"I appeal to the Government to ensure due process during the appeals process, prevent deportation or detention, and ensure people are protected from statelessness," she stated.

She included India in her specific reference to over 35 countries, and mentioned Pakistan only in reference to Kashmir, but made no reference to the human rights situation in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Balochistan or Gilgit-Baltistan.

On September 1, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had slammed as "incorrect" commentaries in foreign media about the NRC, and explained the process of identifying illegal migrants in Assam as a "statutory, transparent, legal process mandated by the Supreme Court" and a "non-discriminatory process, which leaves no room for bias and injustice".

The MEA had said the NRC application form does not ask for the religion of the applicant and is "not an executive-driven process".

On Jammu and Kashmir, India maintains that it is an internal matter and required no third-party mediation.

(With inputs from IANS)

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