- UN body’s new chief says Kashmiri people have equal rights to justice, dignity
BRUSSELS: New head of UN Human Rights Michelle Bachelet while upholding the position taken by her predecessor Zeid Raad al Hussain on human rights situation in Kashmir, has said that the Kashmiri people have exactly the same rights to justice and dignity as people all over the world.
In her opening remarks at the 39th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Brussels, she urged India to respect these rights and take meaningful action on addressing issues highlighted in the UN report on human rights violations in Kashmir. This was part of a written statement by the new UNHRC chief.
The former Chilean president succeeded Zeid Raad al Hussain as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights this month. “The people of Kashmir have exactly the same rights to justice and dignity as people all over the world and we urge authorities to respect them,” Bachelet said.
She also reiterated the UNHRC’s request for unconditional access to Kashmir on either side of the Line of Control. “The Office of the HRC continues to request permission to visit both sides of the LoC, and in the meantime, will continue its monitoring and reporting,” she said.
In his report to the UN Human Rights Council in June, Zeid Hussain had sought an establishment of a commission of inquiry to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigation into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir and asked the government of India to fully respect the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people as protected under international law.
However, India reacted sharply to the report, calling it ‘fallacious, tendentious and motivated.’