U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, delivered at the opening of 42nd session of the Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Developments during the Meeting Though the officials referred to an entire range of issues across the world, problems of human rights violation from India and Myanmar found greater attention during the meeting. UNHRC remarks regarding Jammu & Kashmir

  • The UN Human Rights Council urged India on Monday to end the lockdown in Kashmir and restore basic communications services.
  • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called upon India to ease the current lockdowns or curfews; to ensure people’s access to basic services, and to respect all rights of those who have been detained.
  • She also opined that it is important to consult people of Kashmir and engage them in decision-making processes that have an impact on their future
UNHRC remarks regarding Assam
  • The issue of exclusion of 1.9 million nationals from the exercise of the NRC of Assam was also raised by the officials during UNHRC 42nd
  • Regarding NRC issue, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet asked the Indian government to respect the civil rights of, lakhs of people who have been excluded from the National Register of Citizens.
  • Further she demanded the government to protect people from statelessness, prevent deportation /detention and to ensure due process during appeals.
India’s disagreement over Pakistan’s statement In an attempt to internationalize the Kashmir issue, Pakistan demanded that the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) set up a commission of inquiry-one of UN’s highest-level probes for major crises to look into Kashmir issue. In its remarks to the UNHRC on Tuesday, India said
  • India’s Constitution is “supreme" and “guarantee fundamental rights to all our citizens without any distinction.
  • Further the decision to abrogate article 370 was taken by our Parliament after a full debate that was televised and enjoyed widespread support.
  • Finally, India dismissed the issue saying J&K issue is entirely internal to India and No country can accept interference in its internal affairs
  • The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.
  • It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year.
  • It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.
  • The Council is made of 47 Member States, which are elected by the majority of members of the General Assembly of the United Nations through a direct and secret ballot.
  • The General Assembly takes into account the candidate States' contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as their voluntary pledges and commitments in this regard.
The Council's Membership is based on equitable geographical distribution. Seats are distributed as follows:
  1. African States: 13 seats(Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia)
  2. Asia-Pacific States: 13 seats(Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, India, Iraq, Japan, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Fiji)
  3. Latin American and Caribbean States: 8 seats(Argentina, Bahamas, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay)
  4. Western European and other States: 7 seats(Australia, Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
  5. Eastern European States: 6 seats(Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine)
  • Members of the Council serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.
Read More: The UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR)  |  After Jammu and Kashmir report India cuts off on UN panel