India: UN Special Rapporteur to visit Jammu & Kashmir tomorrow

Srinagar, (SANA) A year after the visit of United Nations Special Rapporteur Margaret Sekaggya, another Rapporteur is visiting JK on a fact-finding mission. The Rapporteur has been charged by the UN Human Rights Council to examine situations of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

The UN Rapporteur, Christof Heyns, is scheduled to arrive on the fact-finding mission on March 26 along with his team. Talking to Greater Kashmir over phone, Rajiv Chandran, National Information Officer of UN at New Delhi said that the Rapporteur would stay in JK for one and a half day.

“The team is visiting seven cities including Jammu and Srinagar during their trip to India on invitation of Ministry of External Affairs, GOI,” he said.

According to sources, the UN expert will meet officials, which include high-ranking officials at Union and State levels, as well as various academics, international and local non-governmental organizations and UN agencies here.

As per his schedule, he will meet various organisations of Kashmiri Pandits and civil society groups in Jammu on March 26. Later in the afternoon, the team will reportedly have an interaction with human rights groups, lawyers and various civil society groups in Srinagar, including the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons.

A team of Human Rights Forum led by its chairman Ahsan Untoo had met Christof Heyns & Irina Tabirta at New Delhi. “My upcoming mission represents a unique opportunity to assess the situation of extrajudicial executions in India and the efforts undertaken to prevent them and ensure accountability in such cases,” Christof said. “It shall give me the opportunity to gather lessons learned in relation to matters concerning my mandate.”

The Special Rapporteur will also examine the legislative framework applied in JK vis-a-vis the issues encompassed by his mandate.

On the basis of his analysis, Heyns will make recommendations to assist the country in exploring avenues to strengthen the protection of the right to life.

Pertinently, last year the United Nations Special Rapporteur Margaret Sekaggya had visited Kashmir and met top officials of the State including the Home Secretary, Director General of Police besides civil society and human rights groups.

UNITED Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Christof Heyns had sought a report from Government of India about 2010 killings in the Valley.

The report by Heyns which was tabled at the 17th Session of the UNHRC at Geneva in 2011, discloses that a letter was dispatched by his office to India’s representative at the UN on October 22, 2010 to seek report over the allegations of killings of civilians by the “military and police forces” in Kashmir from June 11 to August 7 that year.

The annexure of the letter shot by Heyns’ office carries the details of killings from Tufail Matoo to Aisha Sheikh.

Source: South Asian News Agency (http://www.sananews.net/english/un-special-rapporteur-to-visit-jk-tomorrow/) – 25/03/2012

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