September 2019 News

UNHRC Voices Concern Over Kashmir Lockdown

9 September 2019
Kashmir Times
PL Uniyal

New Delhi: The UN Human Rights Council on Monday voiced concern over the recent Indian actions and their impact on the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir. '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,' High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet told the 42nd regular session of the Council in Geneva. Bachelet opened the session and updated the Council on the situation of human rights worldwide. She said her office continues to receive reports on the human rights situation, on both sides of the Line of Control, a de facto border that divides Kashmir valley between Pakistan and India. '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,' she said. She also called for consulting people of Kashmir, in any decision-making processes, having impact on their future. Referring to the citizenship list in India's northeastern state of Assam, bordering Bangladesh, she said it has caused an uncertainty and anxiety to some 1.9 million people, excluded from the list published on Aug. 31. 'I appeal to the Indian Government to ensure due process during the appeals process, prevent deportation or detention, and ensure people are protected from statelessness,' she added. Jammu and Kashmir has been under a near-complete lockdown since Aug. 5, after India scrapped its special status. Since then the Indian government has also blocked communication access and has imposed restrictions to thwart any protests in the Muslim-majority region. Several rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have repeatedly called on India, to lift restrictions and release political detainees. Indian authorities, however, claim that daytime restrictions have been lifted in 90% of the region. From 1954 until August 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special status under Indian constitution, which allowed it to enact own laws. The provisions also protected the region's citizenship law, which barred outsiders from settling in and owning land in the territory. India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over Kashmir.

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