UNHRC chief concerned over curbs, clampdown in India

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 2/27/2021 3:59:11 PM

JAMMU, Feb 26: The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) chief expressed “concern over the restrictions on communications, and clampdowns on civil society activists in Kashmir”.
In her 46th session of the to the 47-member-state Human Rights Council in Geneva, Bachelet made the remarks while updating the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in recent human rights situations across the world in more than 50 countries, a UNHRC media release today said.
“Despite recent restoration of 4G access for mobile phones, the communications blockade has seriously hampered civic participation, as well as business, livelihoods, education, and access to health-care and medical information.” said Bachelet, talking about Kashmir.
She also said that “raids against human rights defenders in October and November exemplify the continued restrictions on civil society, and resulting impact on the rights of the people of Kashmir to impart and receive information, and to engage in free, open debate on Government policies affecting them”.
The UNHRC chief also expressed concern at the lack of internet access in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, averring that it “remains a serious problem, prompting student protests in the past year”.
Bachelet also spoke about the farmers’ protest in India against three farm laws. “In India, continued protests by hundreds of thousands of farmers highlight the importance of ensuring laws and policies are based on meaningful consultations with those concerned,” she said. “I trust that ongoing dialogue efforts by both sides will lead to an equitable solution to this crisis that respects the rights of all,” she added.
The UN human rights chief also criticised the action taken against journalists covering the protests and efforts to curb freedom of expression on social media. “Charges of sedition against journalists and activists for reporting or commenting on the protests, and attempts to curb freedom of expression on social media, are disturbing departures from essential human rights principles,” Bachelet said.
On an encouraging note, she said, “with regard to inclusion and participation, I am encouraged by the recent experience of my Office in a pilot programme in Kerala State, where officials, civil society organisations and community leaders have used innovative technology to ensure that the voices of marginalized and poor people are heard, and their needs addressed, in the pandemic response.”

 

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