The News – India’s divisive policies marginalising Muslims, other minorities: UN HR chief

New York – New York State – USA, 08 March 2019. United Nations Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet has warned India that its “divisive policies” have extensively marginalised Muslims and other minorities in the country.

“India’s narrow political agendas are marginalising Muslims and other minorities in an already unequal society,” she said in her annual report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“I fear that these divisive policies will not only harm many individuals, but also undermine the success of India’s economic growth story.”

“We are receiving reports that indicate increasing harassment and targeting of minorities, in particular, Muslims and people from historically disadvantaged and marginalised groups, such as Dalits and Adivasis,” she said in her annual report.

Expressing concern over the ongoing tensions in the Indian-occupied Kashmir, she said her office was ready to investigate the situation on the ground.

“I remain concerned about the ongoing tensions in occupied Kashmir, as shelling and firing on both sides of Line of Control continue to contribute to loss of life and displacement,” Bachelet said.

“I encourage and invite both India and Pakistan to my office to monitor the situation on the ground, and to assist both the states to address the human rights issues that must be part of any solution to the conflict,” she added.

A day earlier, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated his call to Pakistan and India to “de-escalate the tensions” between them as the situation in the region continues to pose threat to peace and security.

“We are fully aware of the situation,” Guterres’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, adding that the UN chief was in touch with both sides at various levels to “express his concern and the need to do as much as anyone can to de-escalate the tensions.”

However, he added the secretary-general had not yet spoken to the prime ministers of the two countries, Imran Khan and Narendra Modi, “as far as I am aware.”