UK: Kashmir a bilateral issue but respect human rights
MPs from across the House of Commons raised concerns about the situation after New Delhi fundamentally altered the status of Jammu and Kashmir within the Indian Constitution in August.Updated: Sep 03, 2019 22:02 IST
The Boris Johnson government on Tuesday said the Kashmir dispute is a matter for India and Pakistan to resolve but there have been ‘serious’ concerns about alleged detention and communications blackout which make it an issue of international human rights.
MPs from across the House of Commons raised concerns about the situation after New Delhi fundamentally altered the status of Jammu and Kashmir within the Indian Constitution in August. There is a large community in the UK with origins in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab referred to recent discussions between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue, as well as between him and foreign minister S Jaishankar, when he said London’s concerns were conveyed.
Raab said: “It is important that internationally recognised human rights are fully respected. The dispute between India and Pakistan in relation to Kashmir is for them fundamentally to resolve as recognised in UN Security Council resolutions and the Simla agreement”.
“But the issue of human rights is not just a bilateral issue for India or Pakistan or a domestic issue but an international issue. We expect of all our partners that internationally recognised standards of human rights are respected and complied with”.
“All or any allegations of human rights violations are deeply concerning. They must be investigated thoroughly and promptly and transparently. The concerns and issues raised are very serious”, Raab added.
Noting that the Johnson government is aware of the implications of Article 370’s revocation, Raab told MPs: “As well as wanting to respect the constitutional arrangements within India and in relation to Kashmir, they do also have implications internationally particularly as they touch on internationally respected and recognised human rights”.
To Conservative MP Shailesh Vara, who raised the issue of violence outside the Indian high commission on August 15, Raab said any violence should be deplored and efforts made to promote good relations between communities in the UK.
A protest demonstration was held on Tuesday outside the Indian high commission, for which Scotland Yard said an appropriate policing plan was in place. Some glass panes of the mission were damaged by projectiles hurled by demonstrators.