The United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights on Wednesday appealed to both India and Pakistan for independent access to Jammu and Kashmir as well as Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to examine “recent allegations of serious human rights violations” in the region.
A statement released by the Office of the High Commissioner said that Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein had been in contact with officials from both New Delhi and Islamabad to seek permission for a team to investigate the allegations, “particularly given the conflicting and competing claims on both sides”. Hussein expressed regret that the UNOHCHR had not been allowed to visit the region over the “almost daily reports of violence in the region”.
Hussein said, “It is unfortunate that our sincere attempts to independently assess the facts in relations to reports of human rights violations have failed,” adding, “Without access, we can only fear the worst.”
His statements come in the wake of violence in the Kashmir valley following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by Indian security forces on July 8. A total of 65 people have died in protests and clashes with security forces in different parts of the state. The violence has also led to a diplomatic row between India and Pakistan, with Islamabad most recently having “dedicated” its Independence Day to the “freedom of people in the Valley".