UN rights chief calls for investigation of Kashmir
© WikiMedia (Michael Petersen)

UN rights chief calls for investigation of Kashmir

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] called for [press release] an investigation Tuesday into potential human rights abuses committed in both the Indian-administrated and Pakistan-administrated sections of the Kashmir region.

According to the first UN report [report, PDF] on Kashmir, in the Indian-administrated section, soldiers use excessive force against civilians, which led to approximately 145 deaths within the past few years. Civilians are also subjected to enforced disappearance, torture, and sexual violence. Victims are often barred access to justice because Indian soldiers have almost complete immunity.

The report says that in the Pakistan-administrated section, the violations are “of a different calibre or magnitude.” The administration denies the freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion to the people of Kashmir.

“Any resolution to the political situation in Kashmir should entail a commitment to ending the cycles of violence and accountability for past and current human rights violations and abuses committed by all parties and redress for victims,” says Zeid. “Such a resolution can only be brought about by meaningful dialogue that includes the people of Kashmir.”

He recommends that the UN’s human rights branch create a commission of inquiry to hold an independent investigation into the conditions in Kashmir.

In 2016, Zeid said that he was concerned [JURIST report] about human rights violations in Kashmir.