Opinion: UNHRC report on Kashmir - wrong diagnosis, unwanted prescription

Delhi, India Jul 16, 2018, 11.22 AM(IST) Written By: Major General S B Asthana

File photo. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

Story highlights

The report on Kashmir exhibits an irresponsible act of presenting a sensational document, displaying basic lack of understanding of the situation on ground.

In June 2018, UNHRC released a first ever report on Kashmir regarding alleged human rights violations on both sides of the Line of Control and recommended a Commission of Inquiry by the Human Rights Council.  The report of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein was highly prejudiced, based on inadequate inputs and clearly exhibited the ignorance of facts. It looked like a summary of misinformation. 

India junked the report, terming it as "fallacious and motivated". In a sharp rebuttal, MEA said that the "so-called" report reflects the "clear bias of an official who was acting without any mandate whatsoever and relied on unverified sources of information." 

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has voiced support for the UN human rights chief's call for an independent international investigation into the human rights situation in Kashmir.

UNHRC struggling for credibility

UNHRC has often been criticised for favoritism, politicisation and irresponsible reporting. It is expected to be a neutral organisation, but in reality it is staffed with diplomats tasked to protect their own national interests, which makes it a political entity.

The fact that US has walked out of UNHRC, presumably due to anti-Israel/anti-West bias, is a jolt to the organisation. The UN Secretary General actually had no choice, but to back UNHRC, as it is still struggling for existence after the shocker from the US President and repeated criticism.

Why the report is biased

•The manner in which Jammu and Kashmir has been referred in the report violates India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The use of words like ‘Azad Kashmir’, ‘Indian Occupied Kashmir’ indicates lack of understanding of legal position of Jammu and Kashmir.

•India is not duty bound to explain its governance methodology and counter-terrorism strategy to UN. In absence of such information, their wild assumptions cannot be taken as truth. With no unconditional access to either side of Line of Control, the report appears to be a figment of imagination.

•The UNHRC Chief was not mandated to write this report. His justification of it being covered under "the general mandate of human rights instruments" does not give right to UN to encroach into issues of normal governance and strategy of securing Indian borders.

•Mr Zeid and his team’s understanding of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) is inadequate.

•The intent of bringing out such report just before highly controversial elections in Pakistan, timed with one sided Pakistani act of granting provincial status to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Gilgit- Baltistan, indicates that the report is motivated, prejudiced, and part of some political game plan. The accusations in some media reports that a Toronto-based Pakistani Imam Zafar Bangash helped Mr Zeid in preparing this report, falls in line with the argument. 

•The period covered in the report is from Burhan Wani’s death till June 2018, is a period when cross border terrorism had increased massively. This clearly indicates the intent to show India in poor light. Obviously the UN team never tried to reflect how much security forces helped people during the floods and continue to do so even now through various civic action projects.

Indian security forces exercise maximum restraint in carrying out counter terror operations. Its resilience and patience is unmatchable. The report on Kashmir exhibits an irresponsible act of presenting a sensational document, displaying basic lack of understanding of the situation on ground. 

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)

Major General S B Asthana

Major General S B Asthana had been an Infantry General with 40 years of defence experience at national and international level.