India has said that the work of the United Nations Human Rights Council is getting more contentious and difficult and expressed concern over instances of politicisation of human rights as a foreign policy tool, PTI reported on Saturday.
India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Tanmaya Lal, said that even as the Human Rights Council continues to expand with a growing number of resolutions, frequent meetings and special sessions, the effectiveness of its work is not always clear. He was speaking at the UN General Assembly session on the Report of the Human Rights Council on Friday.
“While a very comprehensive normative framework of human rights treaties and covenants has evolved, the work of the Human Rights Council and its associated procedures and mandates is, regrettably, getting more contentious and difficult,” Lal said.
Lal said the ineffectiveness of the global governance mechanisms to find commonly acceptable solutions has posed challenges to the “spirit of multilateralism”.
“The reasons for many of the difficulties surrounding the discussions on the human rights agenda are not hard to find,” Lal said. “They flow from the often very divergent priorities and concerns of member states in terms of their levels of development, social and cultural contexts and governance systems.”
He said country-specific procedures have largely been counter-productive. “Instances of such mechanisms and offices operating on their own without any mandate and producing clearly biased documents only further harm the credibility of United Nations,” Lal said.
In June, India rejected a report on Kashmir by then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. Hussein had called for an independent international probe into the human rights situation in Kashmir.
In July, Lal said the “so-called” report on Jammu and Kashmir reflects the “clear bias of an official who was acting without any mandate whatsoever and relied on unverified sources of information.
On Friday, Lal said an agreement on the best way to protect human rights, including in “situations of possible gross and systematic violations”, remains elusive, especially if it “clashes with the idea of sovereignty of nation states”.
Lal termed terrorism as one of the worst forms of violation of human rights and said India has faced repeated terrorist attacks from beyond its borders, in a reference to Pakistan. He said a collective response to address terrorism “continues to be thwarted by some”.
Lal said that the human rights agenda must be pursued with objectivity, respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in the internal affairs of states, and transparency.