The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Monday said that it was “deeply concerned” about human rights violations in Kashmir as severe restrictions imposed in the region entered the sixth week.
"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," said Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in her opening statement at the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
"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 added.
The Indian government has imposed curfew-like restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir since it revoked Article 370, which gave special privileges to the region, last month. Phone and internet lines have been blocked and top political leaders have been detained.
Meanwhile, India and Pakistan are set the clash at the UNHRC today with both nations set to make statements regarding Kashmir. According to reports, Pakistan is also set to move a resolution against India's attempt to "muzzle human rights" in J&K during the session, after having failed to raise the issue at the UN Security Council meeting last month. India will need enough numbers in the 47-member UNHRC to defeat the resolution in the procedural vote.
The UNHRC session started in Geneva on Monday and will go on till September 27. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is also likely to mention Kashmir in his speech at the UN General Assembly on September 27. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also address the assembly on the same day.
The UNHRC chief also raised the issue of the National Register of Citizens or NRC that has been instituted by the union government in Assam, aimed at removing illegal immigrants, with the final list excluding some 19 lakh people.
Bachelet appealed to the Indian government to ensure due process during the appeals process, prevent deportation or detention, and ensure people are protected from statelessness.