BEING RESPONSIVE: ON THE JAMMU & KASHMIR REPORT
22, May 2019
Why in News:
- The government’s decision to shut down communication with UN Special Rapporteurs seeking to question India on alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir may appear extreme, but is in line with its reaction to such international reports over the last few years.
- In a letter dated April 23, India’s permanent mission to the UN in Geneva wrote to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights rejecting any reference to the UN’s original June 2018 report on J&K as well as Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and refused to respond to questions about deaths of 69 civilians between 2016 and 2018 in violence in the Valley.
- In its objections, the government said the report was “false and motivated”, that its conclusions and recommendations were violative of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and accused the Special Rapporteurs preparing the report of “individual prejudices” against India.
What is the Issue:
- The report from the UN body came at the same time a report from two NGOs in the State on the alleged cases of torture was released in Srinagar, which was endorsed by a former UN Special Rapporteur.
- In addition, the Special Rapporteurs had listed 13 cases of concern from 2018 alone, in which four children were among eight civilians killed by members of the security forces.
- The current Special Rapporteurs on Extrajudicial Executions, Torture, and Right to Health had referred to a June 2018 report of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) and written to the government in March 2019, asking about steps taken by New Delhi to address the alleged human rights violations listed in the report.
- Rejecting all the claims, the Indian Permanent Mission to the UNin Geneva replied to the OHCHR saying that India does not intend to engage further with the mandate-holders on the issue – whom it accused of individual prejudice.
- UN officials say that India is already in contravention of several Conventions it has committed to, including a Standing Invitation signed in 2011 to all special rapporteurs to visit India.
- According to the UN records, more than 20 such visit requests, including to Jammu and Kashmir, are pending at present.
- UN sources also said that between 2016-2018, the OHCHR Special Rapporteurs had sent as many as 58 communications, and had received no response other than the April 23 letter on Jammu and Kashmir.
Reports from NGO:
The UN submission on Jammu and Kashmir coincided with the release of an extensive 560- page report on Monday, prepared by the J&K based Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and the J&K Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS).
The report, entitled ‘Torture: Indian State’s Instrument of Control in J&K’, documented 432 cases of suspected human rights violations and brutality by security forces of which only 27 had been investigated by the State Human Rights Commission.
The report claimed that nearly “70% of torture victims in Jammu and Kashmir were civilians (not militants) and 11% died during or as a result of torture”.
The cases included incidents of electrocution, ‘water-boarding’ and sexual torture, which the government has repeatedly denied.