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India lodges disappointment over ‘unwarranted remarks’ on Kashmir by UNHR chief

New Delhi/Geneva, Sep 14 (UNI) India on Tuesday express its disappointment over the “unwarranted remarks” by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Jammu and Kashmir ”which do not reflect the ground reality”.

Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs Reenat Sandhu, in a statement, said: “We take note of references to India in the oral update by the High Commissioner and express our disappointment over her unwarranted remarks on the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, which do not reflect the ground reality.”
She said that any shortcomings in upholding human rights “must be addressed in a transparent and impartial manner, anchored in respect for national sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs of States”.

Sandhu said that India’s approach to the global promotion and protection of human rights is based on its own experience as a pluralistic and inclusive society and vibrant democracy. “We believe that promotion and protection of human rights are best pursued through dialogue, consultation and cooperation among States and through provision of technical assistance and capacity building.”

She said that India’s Constitution enshrines basic human rights as fundamental rights and India’s Parliament, independent judiciary, vibrant media and civil society ensure full enjoyment of human rights by our people.

“We believe that achievement of Sustainable Development Goals will contribute to realization and enjoyment of basic human rights, and have therefore pursued inclusive and sustainable development to ensure a better life for our citizens.

“As part of our development agenda, we have undertaken targeted policy measures to empower the most vulnerable segments of society. Despite COVID-19 challenges, we continue to follow this approach by focusing our efforts on saving lives and livelihoods,” she added.

Ignoring growing rights violations in neighbouring Pakistan in her opening statement at the 48th session of the Human Rights Council, Bachelot said the use of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act throughout India, including Jammu & Kashmir, is worrying, as well as the restrictions imposed in the state.

While she acknowledge the Government of India’s efforts to counter terrorism and promote development in the region, “such restrictive measures can result in human rights violations and foster further tensions and discontent”, she said.

Sandhu said the situation in Afghanistan continues to be of grave concern.

Referring to the UN Security Council Resolution 2593, adopted during India’s presidency last month, she said it should guide the international community’s approach to Afghanistan.

“It reaffirms the importance of upholding human rights including those of women, children and minorities, allowing safe passage for those wanting to leave Afghanistan and ensuring unhindered access for humanitarian assistance. The international community must stand with the people of Afghanistan in their desire to live in peace and dignity,” she said.

Sandhu said that India has been at the forefront of global action and discourse on promotion and protection of human rights and will continue to do so.

She said India is seeking re-election to the Human Rights Council for the term 2022-24. “We look forward to the continued support of the UN Member States to India’s candidature.”

She reiterated the Indian delegation’s full support and cooperation in discharge of the Council’s mandate. “We will continue our constructive engagement with the Council and the High Commissioner,” she added.

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