United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday supported High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s call for an independent investigation into alleged human rights abuses in Kashmir on both sides of the Line of Control, PTI reported.
“As you can imagine, all the action of the human rights high commissioner is an action that represents the voice of the UN in relation to that matter,” Guterres told reporters at a press conference in New York, when asked if he supports an independent inquiry into human rights conditions in Kashmir. However, Guterres added: “It is clear to me that only political solutions can address political problems.”
On June 14, Hussein issued a report on the situation in Kashmir, detailing alleged human rights violations and abuses. India’s Ministry of External Affairs said the report violated India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It also described the report as “fallacious, tendentious and motivated”. This week, India said the report shows “clear bias of an official who was acting without any mandate whatsoever and relied on unverified sources of information.”
“What the human rights high commissioner did was use his own competence and capacities as he does in all other parts of the world to report on what he considers to be relevant human rights violations,” Guterres said on Thursday. “It does not mean that there is, in that, a preference for any kind of methodology for a political solution. They are two completely different things.”
Responding to Guterres’ comments, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the rights body’s assessment does not have any basis. “If only they see what is on the ground, Indian Army shows the maximum restraint,” ANI quoted her as saying.
Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh said the report was an “individual report” and had nothing to do with the United Nations, PTI reported.
India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin told PTI the report was not followed up by any member of the global body and this indicates that no one is ready to support it. “So, referring to the report is like flogging a dead horse,” he added.