Boris Johnson govt seeks permission for its High Commission officials in India to be allowed to visit Kashmir
NEW DELHI — The British lawmakers Thursday raised the issue of human rights violation in Kashmir in the House of Commons and urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to raise the issue with his Indian and Pakistani counterpart. They also called for unconditional access to the UN and EU officials on both sides of Kashmir to assess human rights situation in the region.
According to the Times of India, Nigel Adams, the Minister for Asia, said it would “not be appropriate” for the UK to make mediation offers between India and Pakistan over Kashmir “but it would be wrong to not acknowledge that there are serious human rights concerns in Kashmir.”
He also informed the House that the government was seeking permission for its High Commission officials in India to be allowed to visit Kashmir when the situation allows.
The MPs expressed concern over lockdown, internet shutdown, deaths, curfews, rapes and torture allegedly committed in Kashmir.
Conservative MP James Daly, called for working with European partners and with President-elect Biden in America, to establish “an international programme through the UN that will give hope to those poor people in Kashmir. The UK government has quite rightly expressed its views on China’s treatment of the Muslim population. We must take a similar stance in respect of Kashmir.”
Labour MP John Spellar said: “We are not against India… but that does not mean that we should not hold the Indian government to account… We also reject any argument in relation to Kashmir, the Punjab or the Uyghurs in China that these are internal matters. Human rights are actually a universal matter and concern.”
Shadow foreign minister Stephen Kinnock suggested the government should send its own team to Kashmir and report back to the UK Parliament.
“As elected politicians in the UK we cannot decide on domestic policy in another country, but we can use our influence. I would like to see UN human rights officials get access to both sides of the LoC. I know the Prime Minister is due to visit India. I hope that he will raise the issue directly with Prime Minister Modi,” said Conservative MP Robbie Moore.
“Without the UN rapporteur allowed into the region, and with every report out of the region censored, how can anyone assure this House that a genocide in Kashmir is not taking place,” asked Pakistani-origin Labour Bradford West MP Naz Shah.
Responding to the debate, the Indian High Commission in London issued a statement saying “despite the volumes of authentic information available in the public domain,” on Kashmir, the MPs, “ignored current ground reality and instead chose to reflect false assertions of the kind promoted by a third country, such as unsubstantiated allegations of ‘genocide, rampant violence and torture.”