UN Watch

India calls for UN-led consensus on zero tolerance on terrorism; Pakistan calls Kashmir problem 'indigenous'

India has called for a “UN-led consensus on zero tolerance on terrorism”, while condemning Pakistan's use of cross-border terrorism as an instrument of state policy.
Mar 8, 2019
India has called for a “UN-led consensus on zero tolerance on terrorism”, while condemning Pakistan's use of cross-border terrorism as an instrument of state policy.“We all need to unequivocally condemn terrorism and its perpetrators”, Rajiv Chander, India's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva on Thursday told the Human Rights Council after Pakistan had lobbed criticism at New Delhi.
 
He said that in Kashmir “the central problem is cross-border terrorism and Pakistan’s use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy" and added, "This fact needs due recognition”.
 
“We firmly believe that UN-led consensus on zero tolerance on terrorism is as much an international obligation as it is a commitment to our own people” he said.
 
Speaking after the Pakistan's delegate, who launched an attack asserting that Kashmir “was under illegal Indian occupation”, Chander declared, “The whole State of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Pakistan remains in illegal occupation of a part of our territory”.
 
He did not directly mention the Pakistan representative or the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, who had criticised India on Wednesday. “India is a secular State and safeguarding the rights of minorities forms an essential core of our polity” Chander said in comments that responded to her criticism.
 
“The Indian Constitution enshrines various provisions for the protection of rights and interests of the minorities", he added. "The state makes no distinction between caste, creed, colour or religion of a citizen”.
 
Bachelet had spoken of “reports that indicate increasing harassment and targeting of minorities – in particular Muslims and people from historically disadvantaged and marginalised groups, such as Dalits and Adivasis” and said that “that narrow political agendas are driving the further marginalisation of vulnerable people” and deepening inequalities.
 
Chander said that as the world's largest democracy, “Indian polity also weaves in immense diversity along with respect for tolerance and mutual understanding”.
 
India had an independent judiciary, free and vibrant media, and a vocal civil society while “national and state-level Human Rights Commissions along with other specific Commissions continue to monitor complaints from minority communities”.
 
The Indian government has issued Communal Harmony Guidelines that set out standard operating procedures to deal with communal violence, he added.
 
Pakistan's acting Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Tahir Hussain Andrabi, spoke twice before Chander --  the first time on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and then on behalf of his country.
 
In his OIC speech he made only a passing reference to Kashmir along with other hotspots like Myanmar, where he said people suffered from long-standing disputes. Andrabi denied his country had a hand in the troubles in Kashmir, asserting that the source of the unrest was “indigenous” and cited Indian “experts” as saying it resulted from its “own operational and policy failures” that alienated Kashmiris.
 
He mentioned the arrest of Kashmiri journalist Asif Sultan as an example of reprisals against human rights activists. Sultan, a former assistant editor of Kashmir Narrator, has been charged with harbouring terrorists.

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