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UN Hits Back at Indian Media Criticism of Kashmir Human Rights Report


FILE - Demonstrators burn a copy of the report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights during a protest outside the United Nations office in New Delhi, June 25, 2018. The first-ever U.N. report on Kashmir accuses India and Pakistan governments of committing atrocities in the divided region.

The U.N. human rights office is criticizing the Indian media, saying it is intent on spreading misinformation about the publication last month of the first-ever U.N. human rights report on Kashmir.

Indian media outlets have called the U.N. report fallacious, and described it as a nefarious conspiracy and a report authored by the Pakistani security service.

The 49-page report documents mass human rights violations and abuses over seven decades of conflict in Indian-administered and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The information was gathered through remote monitoring because neither side would grant U.N. investigators access to their territories.

U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville says his agency is disappointed that Indian authorities have dismissed the report without examining it and without responding to the serious concerns. Instead, the report has been denigrated by the government, opposition parties, academics and the media, Colville told VOA.

"There have been some very intelligent and well thought through articles, but there also has been this constant stream of — I would say very simplistic and aggressive — condemning the report out of hand without actually looking at what it says. And, in particular, the attacks on the credibility of the report and its sources have been kind of constant since it came out," he said.

Colville says critics have ignored the facts of the report, which are based on reliable information from reputable civil society organizations and the Press Trust of India, and cited in the 388 footnotes.

Colville calls the sustained attempts to divert the focus from human rights violations on both sides of the Line of Control very disturbing. A major aim of the report, he says, was to give a voice to all Kashmiris who have been rendered voiceless amid the deep political polarization.

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