India protests: UN terms PaK as ‘Azad Kashmir’, Lashkar, Jaish as ‘armed groups’

India protests: UN terms PaK as ‘Azad Kashmir’, Lashkar, Jaish as ‘armed groups’

In strongly objecting to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) report on human rights violations in J&K, India has cited departures from internationally-accepted terminology in the report, the Indian Express reported.

The report has termed militant organisations like Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) as “armed group” 38 times, Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK) has been described as “Azad Jammu and Kashmir” 26 times in the OHCHR report. The report has also referred to militants as “leaders” of these groups.

This violation of UN terminology by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the author of the OHCHR report has been strongly objected to by New Delhi, in a communication sent to his office on June 12, the report said.

However, the 49-page report Zeid issued Thursday did not make the corrections. Sources said Zeid had shared the advance copy with India on June 4 to point out “factual errors”.

The UN has proscribed and internationally designated the LeT and JeM as terrorist outfits, as per UN Security Council resolutions 1267, and it calls them terrorist entities. And, to describe Kashmir, UN uses the internationally-accepted terminology: Pakistan-administered and Indian-administered Kashmir.

Zeid, who belongs to the Jordanian royal family, is due to demit office on August 31, and the report represents his own views and does not reflect the views of the UN Human Rights Council, as an institution, the report said.

“It is not a UN report, it is the report of the office of the High Commissioner, which is different. We must distinguish between the two,” a source was quoted in the report as saying.

India has also pointed out to Zeid’s office that the people of J&K have borne the brunt of state-sponsored cross-border terrorism from Pakistan for the last four decades.

“Since the 1990s, India has lost nearly 14,000 innocent civilians and over 5,000 security personnel to cross-border terrorism in J&K,” the source said while referring to the killing of veteran Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari Thursday.

Sources also pointed out that India’s human rights record was examined in May 2017 at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council, where all member countries had conducted a “peer review”. “At that point in time, member countries had freely given suggestions on various aspects, and every country – barring one – had been supportive of India.”

“On no occasion, has the Council mandated or authorized Zeid to undertake any monitoring. He has acted alone, without any sanction from the UNHRC,” the source said. Zeid, sources said, wanted to make it his last splash before demitting office, and wanted to grab attention at the last session of the UNHRC, before he retires.

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    By: KN Web Desk

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