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India rejects Pakistan’s attempts to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva

Calling Islamabad the ' Epicentre' of terrorist activities, India has rejected Pakistan's attempts to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN Human Rights Council

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United Nations, March 2, 2017: India has rejected Pakistan’s attempts to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, by denouncing Islamabad as the global “epicentre” of terrorism and accused it of trying to destabilise the state.

“Pakistan has created terrorist outfits against India. This monster is now devouring its own creator,” Ajit Kumar, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, told the Council meeting in the Swiss city on Wednesday.

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Earlier Pakistan’s Law Minister Zahid Hamid had called for the Council’s intervention in Kashmir, asserting that the “human rights and fundamental freedoms of innocent Kashmiris are being trampled upon.”

Hamid denied that there was a terrorism problem in Kashmir and claimed that Islamabad’s involvement was only in providing “political, moral and diplomatic support”.

Rejecting these assertions, Kumar said: “The fundamental reason for disturbances in parts of Jammu and Kashmir is cross-border terrorism aided and abetted by Pakistan.”

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Pakistan has been carrying out “an intense campaign to destabilise” the state through “infiltration and cross-border terrorism, inciting, promoting and glorifying violence”, he said.

Calling terrorism “the grossest violation of human rights”, Kumar added that “Members will recognise the irony of a nation that has established a well-earned reputation of being a global epicentre of terrorism holding forth on human rights. For the last two decades, the most wanted terrorists of the world have found succour and sustenance in Pakistan.”

Hamid made an appeal to Indians to be aware of the human rights situation in Kashmir.

“We call upon all the mechanism of the Council and the Indian community to remain seized of the grave and systematic violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.”

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Reacting to Hamid’s claims that Kashmir was an international issue under Security Council resolutions, Kumar said: “Pakistan’s unwarranted references to UN Security Council resolutions are grossly misleading as Pakistan was required to vacate the parts of the State of Jammu and Kashmir under its illegal and forced occupation.”

The Permanent Representative also played down the seriousness of the situation in the state and spoke of efforts to develop it and bring normalcy “in the wake of Pakistan-supported violent unrest.”

“The robust and mature Indian democracy proved once again that it has sufficiently strong and adequate mechanisms to redress any internal difficulties even if they are incited from outside,” he said.

That 99 per cent of the high school students in the state have written their exams was a sign of the return of normalcy, he said.

Kumar said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fast-tracked a $12 billion development package for the state.

Hamid also brought up the request by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to send a team to the state. (IANS)

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Rohingya Shot in Rakhine Camp By Myanmar Police Raises United Nation’s Concern

A special U.N. fact-finding mission said the military acted "with genocidal intent" against the Rohingyas.

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Rohingya refugee children shout slogans during a protest against the repatriation process at Unchiprang refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, in Bangladesh. VOA

Reports of shootings, allegedly by Myanmar police, at a camp for Rohingya refugees in Rakhine state have sparked concern by United Nations officials.

Knut Ostby, the U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, tweeted that he is “deeply concerned about the reports of shooting in Ah Nauk Ye camp in central #Rakhine, #Myanmar which holds IDPs who fled violence in 2012. I call for calm, non-violence and restraint. ”

The Reuters news agency quotes eyewitnesses as saying Myanmar police shot and injured four Rohingyas Sunday, while detaining two men accused of smuggling people out of a camp for displaced people in western Rakhine state.

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A new toilet recently installed in a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. VOA

The report said about 20 police descended on Ah Nauk Ye camp, 15 kilometers east of the state’s capital Sittwe, and apprehended the two men who were accused of owning the “rickety vessel,” used in an attempt to smuggle 160 people, including 25 children, out of the camp. The watercraft was stopped south of Yangoon.

An eyewitness told Reuters that when the police came into the camp “people from the camp went out to look and police shot at people.”

The police, however, told the news agency that Rohingyas surrounded them with swords and threw stones at them. “I heard that Bengali from the camp tried to grab the arrested people back from the police and police had to fire warning shots,” police inspector Than Htay from a nearby police station, said.

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Workers build a Rohingya repatriation center in Gunndum near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. VOA

People from Myanmar call the Rohingya Muslims “Bengali,” implying they are from Bangladesh and not from Myanmar.

None of the first Rohingya Muslims on a list to return to Myanmar showed up at their departure points in Bangladesh Thursday, the first day they were scheduled to be sent back under a repatriation agreement between the two nations.

About 150 Rohingya refugees were slated to be transported from the crowded camps in Cox’s Bazar back to northern Rakhine state, the region where they and more than 700,000 others escaped in August 2017 from a scorched earth campaign by Myanmar’s military in response to a series of attacks committed by Rohingya militants. Some of the refugees on the list are believed to have gone into hiding to avoid being sent back.

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A Rohingya refugee woman draws water from a hand pump at a temporary shelter in New Delhi, India.

Meanwhile, about 1,000 angry Rohingyas, including children, demonstrated against the repatriation effort at one of the camps.

Bangladesh Refugee Commissioner Abul Kalam told reporters that the refugees cannot be forced to return to Myanmar under the terms of the agreement.

Human rights groups are calling on Myanmar and Bangladesh to end their plans to send Rohingya Muslims back to Rakhine State, where the United Nations says they are subject to extrajudicial killings and other atrocities carried out by Myanmar’s military.

Amnesty International called the organized return of the Rohingya a “reckless move, which puts lives at risk.”

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A deforested section of the Chakmakul camp for Rohingya refugees clings to a hillside in southern Bangladesh, Feb. 13, 2018. VOA

“These women, men and children would be sent back into the Myanmar military’s grasp with no protection guarantees, to live alongside those who torched their homes and whose bullets they fled,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty’s East and Southeast Asia director.

Also Read: Rohingya Muslims Remain Fearful Due to Forceful Repatriation

Bill Frelick, the refugee rights director for Human Rights Watch, said Dhaka “will be stunned to see how quickly international opinion turns against it if it starts sending unwilling Rohingya refugees back into harm’s way in Myanmar.”

A special U.N. fact-finding mission said the military acted “with genocidal intent” against the Rohingyas, citing numerous atrocities such as extrajudicial killings, gang rapes and the torching of entire villages. (VOA)