Universal Periodic Review at UNHRC frustrates India

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Pakistan’s effective campaign at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) highlighting India’s worst human rights record and brutalities in Indian illegally occupied Kashmir has frustrated New Delhi.

India’s human rights record came under scrutiny during the ongoing 4th cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in the UNHRC in Geneva. The UPR is a peer review process where states offer recommendations to the country under review to improve its human rights record.

Pakistan on the occasion urged India to reverse its illegal steps taken since August 5, 2019 in IIOJK and cease demographic engineering in the territory. Pakistan called upon New Delhi to demonstrate its commitment to international law and implement the UN resolutions on Kashmir. It also urged India to accept recommendations made in the Kashmir reports by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and allow the independent observers to visit the occupied territory.

Pakistan echoed concerns of the international community on Kashmir and asked New Delhi to end all human rights violations and release Kashmiri political detainees, journalists, and human rights defenders. It also asked India to repeal all laws being used to discriminate against Kashmiris and minorities.

India’s Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta, in his reply reacted strongly to Pakistan’s recommendation for India, particularly regarding the IIOJK. He parroted the same old mantra of New Delhi that entire Jammu and Kashmir and is an integral part of India.

Mehta, who is heading the Indian delegation for the UPR, claimed that the situation in IIOJK has improved significantly since August 2019. However, the local politicians including Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami have repeatedly stated that the ground situation in the occupied territory is entirely different from what is being projected by the Modi government and is far from normal.

Meanwhile, the 41st UPR session recommended that India should combat violence against women; ratify the Convention against Torture; abolish the death penalty; ensure freedom of expression, association and assembly and protect civil society and human rights defenders and ethnic and religious minorities.

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