Md Nazrul: Pakistan on Thursday demanded that India should reverse illegal steps taken since August 5, 2019 in occupied Jammu and Kashmir and cease demographic engineering.
Indian human rights record has come under scrutiny during the ongoing 4th cycle of the Universal Periodic review (UPR) in the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Pakistan called on India to demonstrate its commitment to international law by complying with Article 25 of UN Charter and implementing UNSC resolutions on Jammu & Kashmir.
UPR is a peer review process where states offer recommendations to the country under review to improve its human rights record. In a statement by Foreign Office, Pakistan urged India to accept recommendations made in the OHCHR’s Kashmir reports and allow the Office and independent observers access to the occupied territory. Pakistan echoed concerns of international community on Kashmir and asked India to end all human rights violations and release Kashmiri political prisoners, journalists, and human rights defenders. Pakistan also asked India to repeal all laws being used to discriminate against Kashmiris and minorities.
The UN also contributed a report based on inputs of its country team on the human rights situation. Independent civil society organization also submit observations and recommendations to the country concerned.
India’s track record on human rights violations in Kashmir and treatment of minorities under the BJP regime were primary focus on most of the observations.
The UN report for UPR of India mentioned that the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict had expressed concern that a growing concern was the detention of children by Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir for alleged association with armed groups or on national security grounds, as well as the use of torture against children.120
In its report the United Nations country team noted with concern that children in Kashmir had been exposed to decades-long violence.
The UN report also mentions several UN Human Rights special procedure mandate holders who called on the authorities to take resolute action to review the implementation of the National Register of Citizens The UN Special Rapporteur on water and sanitation has been quoted in the UN reported as having stated that Dalits were victims of the gravest forms of caste-based discrimination.
Several international civil society groups have made scathing criticism of India’s actions in Kashmir and its treatment of minorities.
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) said that there had been a rampant misuse of counter- terrorism legislation to persecute human rights defenders, journalists and persons critical of the Government, such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the National Security Act and the Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated that security forces were shielded from accountability by Indian laws and recommended that the Government repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, and the National Security Act.
HRW stated that Kashmiris were facing repression after the Government had revoked the state’s special constitutional status, with many detained.
HRW stated that the Citizenship Amendment Act, had heightened fears that millions of Indian Muslims could be stripped of their citizenship rights and disenfranchised
World Organization against Torture stated that the reporting period had been marked by disproportionate use of force by law enforcement agencies. Prosecution of police officers for human rights violations amounting to criminal offences had rarely materialized. Custodial torture and violence remained an entrenched and routine law-enforcement strategy across India.
Human Rights Alert stated that Dalit communities were subjected to violent search and seizure operations, falsified charges, caste based verbal abuse and humiliation.
Cultural Survival, Cambridge stated that many Adivasi/Tribal women in the custody of the police or other authorities were raped or sexually abused.
Amnesty International (AI) stated that two-thirds of the prison population was in pre-trial detention, with Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims being disproportionately represented.
Amnesty International Human rights activists were regularly harassed with politically motivated charges and journalists were forced to work in unsafe working conditions.
World Organization against Torture (Geneva) stated that mob violence or lynching by Hindu nationalist vigilante groups targeting minorities continued during the reporting period. Police were either complicit in the killings and the cover-up, or stalled investigations and ignored procedures.
Quill Foundation stated that out of all religious minority groups, Muslims faced the most severe violations pertaining to dispositions, discrimination, incarceration, hate, and the withdrawal of citizenship rights.
HRW stated that states in India used laws against cow slaughter to prosecute Muslim cattle traders, as BJP-affiliated groups attacked Muslims and Dalits on rumours that they had killed or traded cows for beef. Police often stalled prosecutions of the attackers, while several BJP politicians had publicly justified the attacks
Amnesty International stated that under the governance of the Bharatiya Janata Party, hate crimes against Muslims and other minorities had surged. Despite calls to record hate crimes at a national level, the annual crime statistics published by the Government did not include them.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide, expressed concern on the ongoing violations experienced by Christians in India, including false accusations and arrests, forced conversion to Hinduism, hate campaigns, assault, murder and illegal occupation of churches, and vandalism of Christian homes, churches, and other church-owned properties.