UN Human Rights Chief calls for Inquiry Panel on Kashmir

UN high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has called for setting up an inquiry commission for a comprehensive investigation of the human rights situation in Kashmir.

Zeid, who opened the 38th session of the UN Human Rights Council on Monday with a global update on human rights concerns, said he had sought to engage with India and Pakistan over the past two years regarding the situation in Kashmir on both sides of the Line of Control.

However, both India and Pakistan refused to give his office "unconditional access" to Kashmir, which led his office to conduct remote monitoring, and the first report that was issued last week. The session runs from June 18 to July 6.

Zeid also expressed "tremendous sadness" at the assassination of Shujaat Bukhari, who he called "a courageous human rights defender actively working for peace, including through his participation in Track II diplomacy seeking to help both India and Pakistan put an end to the violence". He reiterated his call for unconditional access. India will have to lobby hard as it opposes it.

The UNHRC consists of 47 member states elected by the UN General Assembly for staggered three-year terms. India is not a member this year, though Pakistan is.

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