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UN Rights Chief Calls for International Inquiry into Kashmir Violations

Flagging the launch of the first UN human rights report on the disputed territory separating India and Pakistan, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein noted his intention to ask the Human Rights Council in Geneva to set up a commission of inquiry at its next session, beginning on Monday.  The High Commissioner – whose mandate ends this summer – highlighted what he called the “chronic impunity for violations committed by security forces” and said that the political nature of the conflict had masked the “untold suffering” of millions of people. The main focus of the 49-page report is the use of reported “excessive force” by soldiers in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, although it also examines a range of rights violations in Pakistan-Administered Kashmir. In Indian-Administered Kashmir, the report details how large demonstrations erupted in Jammu and Kashmir two years ago after Indian security forces killed the leader of an armed group.

It notes how “excessive force” led to the deaths of an estimated 145 civilians from mid-2016 to April this year. Victims’ lack of access to justice remains a key challenge in Jammu and Kashmir, the report from the UN human rights office, OHCHR, continues. It details how bespoke legislation gives security personnel “virtual immunity” against legal redress unless the Indian government authorizes it and says that “there has not been a single prosecution” in the nearly 30 years that the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act has been in force.

Read more: UN News, https://is.gd/E39LUm

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