September 17, 2020

Grassroot democracy revived: India on UN Human Rights Chief’s Kashmir remark

Geneva: India on Tuesday said it has revived grass root democracy and provided a new momentum to social and economic development in Jammu and Kashmir despite persistent attempts by a neighbouring country to push in militants to derail this process.
Speaking during a debate at the 45th Session of the Human Rights Council, India’s permanent representative Indra Mani Pandey also expressed regret over the UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet ‘s reference to the region.
Pandey said that India remains committed to upholding all human rights. He said the human rights agenda and discourse must be pursued in a transparent and impartial manner with respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs of States.
Referring to the abrogation of the Article 370 in 2019 that revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, Pandey said that since the changes, people in Jammu and Kashmir have been enjoying the same fundamental rights as people in other parts of India.
“We have been able to revive grass root democracy and provide a new momentum to social and economic development, despite the challenge posed by COVID-19 pandemic and persistent attempts by one country to infiltrate militants to derail this process by all possible means,” he said, in a veiled reference to Pakistan.
“Over the past one year, the Government’s efforts aimed at socio-economic development and ensuring better governance have yielded unprecedented results.”By extending coverage of positive and affirmative federal legislations and repealing discriminatory or outdated local laws, the Government has reaffirmed its commitment to delivering socio-economic justice to disadvantaged people in Jammu & Kashmir, including women, children, minorities and refugees,” he said.
“We regret that the High Commissioner in her oral update made a reference to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
He noted that as the largest and most vibrant democracy, India has been, since independence, an ardent supporter of human rights.
“We have encouraged OHCHR to continue engaging States in a constructive manner, while emphasising the need to specifically avoid politicisation of the discourse on human rights, which is not conducive to achieving our collective goal of promoting and protecting human rights,” he said.”We urge the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to recognise the enormity of challenges that we face due to our large and very diverse population of 1.3 billion and act as our partner in a cooperative and constructive spirit in our endeavour to secure for our people all their basic human rights,” he said.
He added that India will continue its constructive engagement with the Council and OHCHR for the promotion and protection of human rights.

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