UN rights chief appeals to India, Pak for access to Kashmir

Geneva, Aug 17 (PTI) Voicing concern over alleged humanrights violations, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights ZeidRa’ad al-Hussein today appealed to both India and Pakistan togrant his team access to Jammu and Kashmir as well as PoK. "I deeply regret that our requests for access have notbeen granted," said the High Commissioner who has soughtaccess for a team to visit both Jammu and Kashmir andPakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to independently andthoroughly look into allegations of human rights violations. Zeid said it was "unfortunate" that access hasn’t beengranted yet considering "the seriousness of the allegations ofthe use of excessive force, allegations of state sponsorshipof violence, as well as the number of people killed and thevery large number of people injured." The human rights office wants its team on the ground inKashmir to interview victims, witnesses and security forcesand to independently assess the situation. "We requested full and unhindered access to the affectedpopulation, to interview a variety of individuals on theground, including victims, witnesses, security forces, andwith access to relevant documentation. Such access wouldenable us to provide an independent and fact-based analysis ofthe situation," he said in a statement. "Without access, we can only fear the worst," Zeid added."I reiterate our request for access." India and Pakistan have been engaged in a war of wordsover the situation in Kashmir where violent protests have thatleft more than 60 people dead after the killing of Hizbulcommander Burhan Wani. PTI ZH AKJZH

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