A second independent report released by the office of OHCHR on the human rights situation in Kashmir

The second independent report commissioned by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the human rights situation in Kashmir covers the period May 2018 to April 2019.

The report notes the absence of any positive response on the part of India or Pakistan to the recommendations of the previous OHCHR report. This is of particular concern as the period covered by the new report has seen a dramatic rise in civilian casualties. In the absence of unconditional access, OHCHR was obliged to use remote monitoring methods to gain information.

The data collected by local civil society organisations indicates that of the 586 conflict-related deaths last year, 160 were civilian casualties the highest number since 2008.

A particular concern is a legal framework underpinning a system which provides minimum recourse to Kashmir in the face of major human rights challenges. Special laws enforced in the territory have created structures that obstruct the normal processes of law and justice and robs the civilian population of their right to legal remedy in case of alleged violations of human rights. Accountability for human rights violations committed by the security personnel remains virtually non-existent in the Indian-Administered Kashmir.

The concern is also expressed regarding the absence of information on the status of the investigations into five extrajudicial executions which were launched in 2016. Moreover, no investigations have been launched into civilian killings in 2017.  The Indian security personnel did not re-evaluate or change their crowd-control techniques or rules of engagement. Despite the alarming numbers of deaths and life-threatening accidents caused by the frequent use of pellet shotguns by the security personnel as a means of crowd control, they continue to be used.

Arbitrary detentions and the so-called “cordon and search operations” result in a wide range of human rights violations and continue to be deeply problematic, as do the special legal regimes applying to Indian-administered Kashmir.

The Kashmir Council-EU fully supports the OHCHR recommendations contained in first and the second reports. As a first step and to establish mutual trust we urge both countries to grant immediate and unrestricted access to the territory to enable UN and EU investigators to gather all necessary information. At the same time, a Commission of Inquiry should be established to investigate past and current human rights violations.

  • The full report is available at the following link: here
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