UNITED NATIONS, Oct 26 (APP): A United Nations (UN) human rights expert has criticized India’s inadequate responses to her communications about wide-ranging abuses, including killings, in Indian Occupied Kashmir and vowed to keep the pressure on New Delhi.
At the same time, Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard told a press conference that experts at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Right (OHCHR) could have only a limited impact on the situation in occupied Kashmir.
“The situation in Kashmir is a big concern for many of us within Special Procedures.
But it is also a situation where we need to recognize that besides keeping the issue on the agenda, and besides denouncing the violation, I am not sure that we at this point can be asked to have much more impact than that,” she said in response to a question at a press conference on Friday.
“It doesn’t mean that we are giving up at all but it does mean that there are a number of actors that are probably better placed than Special Procedures to move the issue to a better situation,” she added.
Special Procedures of the OHCHR is the official name for its group of independent human rights experts with mandates over specific topics or areas.
Ms. Callamard — special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions — spoke to reporters after submitting her annual report to the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural matters.
She said during past month or so she communicated with Indian authorities about “killings but also violation of access to information, violation of freedom of expression and so on and so on”.
Responding to a question about extrajudicial killings and other rights violations in Kashmir, Ms. Callamard said, “I am just not sure that at the moment we have the strategic place for an impact on Kashmir.
So what we got to do is to keep doing, to keep the issue on the agenda, make sure that we are continuing monitoring the situation, responding to the victims, trying to at least mediate somehow what is being the human cost of the situation.”
Ms. Callamard said she had written to the Indian government giving specific details about victims and their perpetrators, but the quality of responses she received has been “poor” and “further gotten poor after the decision of the Indian government to transform the status of Kashmir”.
On August 5, India annexed occupied Kashmir in violation of UN resolutions and the Charter and clamped down on the disputed state placing it under curfew which is still continuing.
Asked about India’s Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), she said, “I am aware of that, of the legal framework that allows detention without charges and so on and so forth… This has been on our agenda, this has been denounced.”