UN Chief Appeals To India, Pak To Deal With Kashmir Through Dialogue

UN chief Antonio Guterres - File Pic

UNITED NATIONS - As Jammu and Kashmir transitioned from a state into two union territories, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres reiterated his appeal that India and Pakistan deal with the Kashmir issue through dialogue and ensure full respect for human rights.

Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday transitioned from a state into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, nearly three months after the NDA government abrogated the state's special status.

Asked about the Secretary General's comment as Jammu and Kashmir ceased to be a state, the UN chief's Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq during a media briefing on Thursday said, Well, just to reiterate our basic concerns that the Secretary General has previously expressed his concerns about the situation in Kashmir. As you know, he has met with representatives of India and Pakistan at their request to discuss the situation."

Haq said the UN chief has appealed to both India and Pakistan "to deal with the issue through dialogue, and, as we've made clear and, particularly, as the High Commissioner for Human Rights has made clear, the situation in Kashmir can only be solved with full respect for human rights.

Tension between India and Pakistan has escalated after the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status.

Islamabad has downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner.

The two UTs came into existence on the day of the birth anniversary of the country's first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who is credited for merger of over 560 states into the Union of India.

On August 5 the Narendra Modi government abrogated the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcated it into two Union Territories.

Kashmir never been on UN's 'Right of Peoples to Self-determination' agenda: India

Jammu and Kashmir has never been on the UN agenda of 'Right of Peoples to Self-determination' and Pakistan has been making "frantic attempts" to gain credibility for its "territorial greed", India said in a strong response to Islamabad at a General Assembly committee after it raised up the Kashmir issue.

Pakistan's outgoing UN envoy Maleeha Lodhi raked up the Kashmir issue at a General Assembly committee, which deals with social, humanitarian affairs and human rights issues, saying Kashmiris have been waiting for their inalienable right to self-determination as promised by 11 Security Council resolutions.

"The agenda of the right of peoples to self-determination, however, has been sought to be misused once again by one delegation, by conflating it with another situation that does not pertain to the decolonisation or foreign domination context.

"This delegation has been making frantic attempts to gain credibility for its territorial greed and has demonstrated no hesitation in sabotaging this important agenda by callously referring to Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India," First Secretary in India's Permanent Mission to the UN Paulomi Tripathi said Wednesday during the General Assembly's Third Committee discussion on 'Right of peoples to self-determination.'

Tripathi retorted, saying the "truth is that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir has never been on the United Nations Right of peoples to self-determination' agenda."

"A cursory reading of the document contained in A/74/309 makes it clear that the agenda for self-determination, as envisaged by the UN, does not include Jammu and Kashmir," she said, making a reference to the Report of the Secretary-General on the universal realisation of the right of peoples to self-determination.

Tripathi asserted that even the UN Security Council resolutions that "this delegation" has a penchant for invoking have never framed Jammu and Kashmir as a self-determination issue in the UN parlance.

"This Committee, therefore, has been cautious against such attempts of letting this forum being misused for propaganda," she said.

In her remarks, Tripathi also noted that India, as a former colony, has always been in the forefront at the United Nations in supporting the right of peoples to self-determination. "Self-determination in the UN context refers to the rights of people that have been colonised or continue to be under foreign domination. It clearly refers to the peoples of non self-governing territories or trust territories," she said.

Further, she said the UN has established that the principle of self-determination is a vehicle for decolonisation, not a justification for secession or undermining territorial integrity of any Member State. While substantial progress has been achieved in implementing this agenda, some situations continue to be unresolved.

"In this context, India strongly supports to the right of self-determination of Palestinian people," she said.

Tripathi voiced concern that in an interconnected world, social media has emerged a platform for amplifying racial hatred and discriminatory ideas what were otherwise fringe opinions.

"This trend, if unchecked, can challenge social cohesion. States must intensify efforts to prevent and combat racial hatred and discrimination, taking into consideration the balance between safeguarding freedom of expression and advocacy of hatred leading to racial discrimination and violence," she said, adding that partnerships with private sector and civil society are critical in this context.

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