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UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres backs call for human rights probe in Kashmir: report

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    United Nations, July 13: UUN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday, July 13, hinted that he backed the international body's human rights chief's call for an independent international probe into the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, PTI reported.

    U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

    Guterres said the Human Rights High Commissioner's action represented the UN's voice on the issue. The UN chief from Portugal who took over in 2017, expressed his stand at a press conference when asked whether he backed an independent probe into the human rights situation in Kashmir and PoK as recommended by Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in his report in June.

    When asked about India rejecting Al Hussein's report saying it was made without any mandate since Kashmir is a bilateral issue and needed to be resolved between New Delhi and Islamabad, the UN secretary general said "the definition of a mechanism for a political solution for a situation in the country is separate from the general mandate of human rights instruments in relation to human rights everywhere", the report added.

    "What the human rights high commissioner did was use his own competence and capacities as he does in all other parts of the world to report on what he considers to be relevant human rights violations. It does not mean that there is, in that, a preference for any kind of methodology for a political solution. They are two completely different things," PTI quoted Guterres as saying.

    India was also upset with Guterres's own report on Children and Armed Conflict

    Recently, New Delhi also expressed its displeasure over Guterres's report on Children and Armed Conflict making references to Kashmir, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and includes situations that fall short of meeting the definition of an armed conflict or threat to international pace, the report added.

    On the human rights report on Kashmir by Al Hussein, India's Permanent Representative to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin tol PTI: "That the High Commissioner for Human Rights represents the UN Secretariat on the issue of human rights is a factual issue. But that his report was not followed up by anyone is also a reality that no one sees it as something they are ready to support. So referring to the report is like flogging a dead horse."

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