India at the 33rd Session of Human Rights Council: the human rights issues that received wide attention from the Council

By Wipada Panichpathom, FORUM-ASIA

India is a current member of the Human Rights Council and will continue until 2017. The Indian delegation participated actively during the 33rd session and made many interventions during discussions under Item 2 (general debate), Item 3, Item 4, and Item 10. However, it did not co-sponsor any resolution unlike the previous session.

The High Commissioner, in his oral update, referred to allegations of excessive use of force on civilians in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir and requested the Governments of India and Pakistan to grant international access to both sides of the line of control so that an independent and impartial assessment can be conducted.

NGOs made a total of 43 statements throughout the three-week session on the issue. During the Item 4 general debate, FORUM-ASIA echoed the High Commissioner’s concerns in relation to reports of excessive use of force on unarmed protesters. It further highlighted a case of alleged reprisal where a human rights defender was unable to attend the 33rd session due to restrictions and subsequent detention by the government.

Pakistan was vocal on the situation in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir prompting replies from India. However, despite intense exchanges between the two countries neither governments adequately responded to concerns raised by NGOs and OHCHR.