Press Trust of india

UN chief’s spokesperson refuses comment on UNHRC’s report on Kashmir

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United Nations, Aug 4:  A spokesperson for UN chief Antonio Guterres has declined to comment on the UN Human Rights High Commissioner’s report on Kashmir, saying it is for the human rights chief to speak for himself and up to the Member States of the Human Rights Council to evaluate its content.

India had rejected High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s report in June in which he had called for a commission of inquiry by the Human Rights Council to conduct an independent, international investigation into the human rights situation in Kashmir.

When asked to comment by a Pakistani journalist on a recent ‘New York Times’ report on Kashmir that appeared to affirm the UN Human Rights High Commissioner’s report on Kashmir, UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq said, “Well, I’ll let the High Commissioner speak for himself. I know he spoke to the press here yesterday. Beyond that, you’re aware that his office has come out with a report on Kashmir, and it’s up to the members of the Human Rights Council to evaluate the contents of that report,” Haq told reporters at the daily press briefing here yesterday.

Al Hussein’s report had found no support from other members of the Human Rights Council and no action was taken, nor was it followed up by anyone during the last session of the Council in Geneva in June.

India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Tanmaya Lal had said that the “so-called” report reflected the “clear bias of an official who was acting without any mandate whatsoever and relied on unverified sources of information”.

Al Hussein’s four-year term ends August 31 and he is not seeking a re-election to the post.

At a farewell news conference at the UN on Thursday, Al Hussein said he still stood by his report.

He said he had asked for “unconditional access” to both sides of the Line of Control from Pakistan and India and is “still waiting” for such an access.

He said “any discrepancies” will be sorted out if his office was given access to the region.

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