The United Nations has accused India again of human rights violations in Kashmir and has called for the formation of a commission of inquiry into the allegations. A new report published by the UN rights body has lambasted both India and Pakistan over human right violations in disputed Jammu and Kashmir.
The report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said that the number of civilian casualties in the region over the 12-month period from May 2018 to April 2019 is believed to be the highest in over a decade.
“Around 160 civilians were killed in 2018, which is believed to be the highest number in over a decade. Last year also registered the highest number of conflict-related casualties since 2008 with 586 people killed, including 267 members of armed groups and 159 security forces personnel,” the report said.
The report also called out the Indian Home Ministry for publishing lower casualty figures, citing 37 civilians, 238 militants and 86 forces personnel killed in the 11 months up to Dec. 2, 2018. “The Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1990 (AFSPA) remains a key obstacle to accountability. Section 7 of the AFSPA prohibits the prosecution of security forces personnel unless the Government of India grants a prior permission or ‘sanction’ to prosecute,” the reported noted.
“The Indian Army has also been resisting efforts to release details of trials conducted by military courts where soldiers were initially found guilty but later acquitted and released by a higher military tribunal,” it added. “There is no information on the status of the five investigations launched into extrajudicial executions in 2016. The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir did not establish any investigations into civilian killings in 2017. No prosecutions have been reported,” the report further said.
Given the failure of both states to address the issues raised, the report calls on the UN Human Rights Council to again consider creating “a comprehensive independent international investigation into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir”.
The rights office shared the report with both countries last month.
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