UN special envoy in JK to meet human rights activists, victims

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Srinagar, Jan 19 (PTI) United Nations special rapporteurMargaret Sekaggya today arrived on a two-day visit to Jammuand Kashmir to take stock of the working conditions of humanrights defenders in the state.

"I am here at the invitation of the government (of India)to look at the issues of human rights defenders in thecountry," Sekaggya told reporters before heading for aclosed-door interaction with victims of alleged human rightsviolations.

She said she has met various people including members ofthe diplomatic corps, human rights defenders and governmentofficials during her stay in the country.

"I will be submitting a report to the human rightscouncil (of the UN) on the challenges faced by human rightsdefenders and make recommendations for implementation toimprove their functioning," Sekaggya said.

Sekaggya is the second UN rapporteur to visit Jammuand Kashmir since 2008, when renowned Pakistani human rightsactivist Asma Jahangir had visited the state to assess thesituation on religious freedom.

Among the people invited to meet the UN rapporteur bylocal organisers were Shakeel Ahmad Ahangar and Abdul Hai -relatives of Neelofar Jan and Asiya, who had allegedly drownedin May 2009 in Shopian district of Kashmir.

The death of the two women had sparked widespreadprotests in the south Kashmir town as the family alleged thatthey were raped and murdered by security forces but the CBIinvestigation into the matter concluded that they had died dueto drowning.

Among the other persons who met Sekaggya was a woman whohas accused the Army of subjecting her husband to enforceddisappearance more than a decade ago.

Before Sekaggya arrived at the venue of the meeting, ahuman rights activist, Asabah Khan, walked out alleging thatthe memorandum to be submitted to the UN rapporteur had beendoctored by the local organisers.

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