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India slams UNHRC chief for remarks on Kashmir

India’s approach to global promotion and protection of human rights is based on our own experience as a pluralistic and inclusive society and vibrant democracy

SNS | New Delhi |

India has rejected UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) chief Michelle Bachelet’s criticism of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, saying her “unwarranted remarks” do not reflect the ground reality.

“India’s approach to global promotion and protection of human rights is based on our own experience as a pluralistic and inclusive society and vibrant democracy. We believe that promotion and protection of human rights are best pursued through dialogue, consultation and cooperation among States and through provision of technical assistance and capacity building,” said Reenat Sandhu, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), in her opening remarks at the 48th session of the UNHRC in Geneva.

The Indian diplomat said any shortcomings in upholding human rights must be addressed in a transparent and impartial manner, anchored in respect for national sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of states.

In her opening statement at the meet on Monday, Bachelet had criticised the use of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act across India as well as restrictions on public assembly and frequent communication blackouts in Jammu and Kashmir.

Responding to the statement, secretary (West) Reenat Sandhu of the external affairs ministry said India’s approach to global promotion and protection of human rights is based on “Our own experience as a pluralistic and inclusive society and vibrant democracy”.

Sandhu pointed out that India’s Constitution enshrines basic human rights as fundamental rights. ”Our Parliament, independent judiciary, vibrant media and civil society ensure full enjoyment of human rights by our people. We believe that achievement of Sustainable Development Goals will contribute to realisation and enjoyment of basic human rights, and have, therefore, pursued inclusive and sustainable development to ensure a better life for our citizens,” she added.

As part of the country’s development agenda, India has undertaken targeted policy measures to empower the most vulnerable segments of society. Despite COVID-19 challenges, India has continued to follow this approach by focusing its efforts on saving lives and livelihoods.

She also expressed concern over the grave situation in Afghanistan, saying the UNSC Resolution 2593 should guide the international community’s approach to the embattled country.

”It reaffirms the importance of upholding human rights, including those of women, children and minorities, allowing safe passage for those wanting to leave Afghanistan and ensuring unhindered access for humanitarian assistance. The international community must stand with the people of Afghanistan in their desire to live in peace and dignity,” she added.