Friday, August 18, 2000

UN human rights expert urges India and Pakistan to investigate Kashmir violence
18 August -- An expert from the United Nations Commission on Human Rights has urged the Governments of India and Pakistan to investigate the recent outbreak of violence in Kashmir, which has left over 100 dead.

Asma Jahangir, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, made her appeald yesterday in response to reports that more than 12 people were killed and 30 others injured in Srinigar on 10 August by a car bomb allegedly set off by the Hizbul Mujahideen guerillas. That group was also reported to have claimed responsibility for killing 12 soldiers in an attack on an Indian army base on 8 August.

Recalling that the Hizbul Mujahideen is allegedly based in Pakistan, the Special Rapporteur, called on the Islamabad Government to investigate the allegations and to ensure that all possible steps were taken to prevent further violence. She also called on India to conduct a "high-level independent enquiry into the 1 August killing of over 85 people in the Kashmiri villages of Pahalgam, Anantnag and Pogal." Reports following the attack have linked the Hizbul Mujahideen and Indian security forces to those deaths, Ms. Jahangir said.

In appealing to the two Governments, the Special Rapporteur said the recent violence "imperils the nascent peace process in Kashmir and delays one key dividend of such a process: an end to arbitrary and summary killings in that tortured land."