NEW DELHI: Foreign minister S Jaishankar reminded the UN Human Rights Council, which has also passed critical comments on Jammu & Kashmir, that terrorism is a crime against humanity and violates the most fundamental human right, the right to life.
Addressing the high level segment at the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday, Jaishankar said, “As a longstanding victim, India has been in the forefront of global action against terrorism. This is possible only when there is a clear realisation, including in bodies dealing with human rights, that terrorism can never be justified, nor its perpetrators ever equated with its victims.”
The exchanges have continued to be sharp after Michelle Bachelet, a socialist politician and former Chilean President, became United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Jaishankar’s strong words are a pointed message to the global human rights body that has been critical of decisions like scrapping of Article 370 in J&K but which seldom pays attention to the role of Pakistan-backed terrorists in inflicting loss of lives and preventing normalcy in the Union Territory.
In the past, India has said the council has taken egregious and unwarranted positions that do not recognise the efforts to ensure democratic functioning in the terror-hit region. In October 2020, the UNGA elected China, Cuba, Gabon, Pakistan, Russia, and Uzbekistan as members of the UNHRC, a fact that came under severe criticism. Pakistan was re-elected with China’s help even though in 2019, it failed to secure the necessary support to call for a debate on Kashmir, after India nullified Article 370.
Jaishankar said, “violation of and gaps in implementation of human rights should be addressed in a fair and just manner, with objectivity, non-selectivity, transparency and with due respect to the principles of non-interference in internal affairs and national sovereignty.” The UNHRC has issued a number of very critical reports against India, particularly on Kashmir.
The US quit the UNHRC in 2018 during the Trump administration citing unfair treatment by the body of Israel. Last week, the Biden administration said they would re-engage UNHRC formally, though a formal return may happen at the end of the year, say sources.