United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres may raise the ongoing situation in Jammu and Kashmir in the General Assembly session next week, a spokesperson said on Thursday. This came a day after Guterres emphasised that dialogue between India and Pakistan was an “absolutely essential element for the solution of the problem”.

“On Kashmir, as the Secretary‑General said and has said previously, he remains engaged,” United Nations for the Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric said. “I think he will also use the opportunity of discussions during the General Assembly to raise it. He’s also underscored the need for dialogue as the only way to resolve the issue and, as part of the solution for the current crisis in Kashmir, to make sure that human rights aspects are very much dealt with, as well.”

On Wednesday, Guterres responded to a question on the measures that would be taken to resolve the Kashmir dispute. “Well, our capacity is related to good offices, and good offices can only be implemented when the parties accept it,” the UN secretary general said. “And, on the other hand, it relates to advocacy, and the advocacy was expressed and will be maintained.” The UN chief also reiterated that human rights must be respected in the region.

On September 11, Guterres had expressed concerns about any potential escalation of tension between India and Pakistan after New Delhi withdrew the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier in the same week, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet had asked both the countries to ensure that the human rights of the people of Kashmir were respected and protected.

India and Pakistan have witnessed a massive escalation in tension ever since Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was revoked on August 5. Pakistan, which has fought three wars with India for Kashmir since Independence, downgraded diplomatic ties and suspended trade.

Last month, Pakistan’s efforts for an international intervention in the Kashmir dispute also led to a rare closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council. This was the first time in over 50 years that the UN Security Council had a meeting exclusively to discuss the Kashmir matter, but it ended without any outcome.

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