UN 'deeply concerned' over restrictions in Kashmir

# 08 August 2019 07:34 (UTC +04:00)

The UN has said the latest restrictions imposed on Indian-administered Kashmir are deeply concerning and "will exacerbate the human rights situation", APA reports citing BBC.

A UN spokesperson highlighted a telecommunications ban, the arbitrary detention of leaders and a ban on political assembly.

The region has been on lockdown since Sunday with phone and internet networks cut off.

It comes as India stripped it of its special constitutional status.

In the video statement posted on Twitter, the spokesperson referred back to an 8 July report on the human rights situation in Kashmir "which documented how authorities have repeatedly blocked communications networks to muzzle dissent, used arbitrary detention to punish political dissidents and employed excessive force while dealing with protests leading to extra judicial killings and serious injuries".

He says the UN was now "seeing again blanket telecommunications restrictions, perhaps more blanket than we have seen before, the reported arbitrary detention of political leaders and restrictions on peaceful assembly".

He also warned the bans would prevent people from "participating fully in democratic debate about the future status of Jammu and Kashmir".

The statement goes on to point out that under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights the right to freedom of opinion and expression "includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart information".

The Himalayan region of Kashmir is claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan, but each country controls only part of it.

There is a long-running separatist insurgency on the Indian side, which has led to thousands of deaths over three decades

Under Article 370 of the Indian constitution, the state of Jammu and Kashmir had special dispensation to make its own laws - the basis for its complex relationship with India for some 70 years.

However, the Indian government is now revoking most of Article 370.

The region remains locked down since India announced the move.

Kashmiris in other parts of the country said that they were unable to get through to their families. Local political leaders have also reportedly been detained.

Pakistan has announced plans to expel India's top diplomat and suspend trade with its neighbour, deepening a row between the countries over the disputed territory.