INDIA AT THE UN AND IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD Issue-01 July to September 2010 Index Page
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Kashmir killings: Clarification that did not matter

Did UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon make the statement on Kashmir as referred by Associate Spokesperson Farhan Haq on 28 July 2010? Haq was quoted saying that the SG called “all concerned to exercise utmost restraint and address problems peacefully” and he “encourages both sides to rekindle the spirit of the composite dialogue”. A livid Ministry of External Affairs immediately asked the UN to clarify. In fact, further statements on the issue from the UN did not clarify what New Delhi was seeking. The UN described the statement as “media guidance” and not a “statement by the Secretary-General”.

Finally, UN Secretary-General spoke on 21st September 2010 and called for an end to violence in Kashmir. UN spokesman Mr Martin Nesirky in New York stated, “The Secretary-General regrets the latest loss of life.  He calls for an immediate end to violence and urges calm and restraint by all concerned”.

India: Hesitant even in the company of Brazil and South Africa!

At the 15th Session of UN Human Rights Council from 13 September to 1 October 2010, India made very few Statements. It restricted itself to Annual Discussion on Women’s Equality before Law and the report (A/HRC/15/22/Add.3) of the visit of the Special Rapporteur on the adverse effects of the movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights to India.

India also spoke on behalf of the “IBSA Forum” formed by the three aspiring permanent members of the Security Council namely India, Brazil and South Africa on the “international fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, resulting from the Israeli attacks on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian assistance”. A number of member States of the UN condemned the Israeli assault.

But IBSA’s statement was classic. It did not make any comment on the merits of the report nor did it condemn the Israeli attacks on the flotilla of ships. It only stated that it recognizes “the recent improvements in the circulation of goods to and from the Gaza Strip” and “in view of the humanitarian and human rights situation” called upon Israel to lift the blockade and to further alleviate circulation restrictions on the movement of people and goods, both in Gaza and in the West Bank”. It went on to highlight a project it runs in Palestine.

The statement of aspiring Permanent Members of the UN Security Council actually failed to inspire anybody.

India’s assistance to Sri Lankan IDPs – there are IDPs in India too!

Asian Centre for Human Rights welcomes India’s policy that accords “highest priority to the welfare and rehabilitation of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Northern Sri Lanka”. On 31 August 2010, India’s Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao during her visit to the IDP camps in Sri Lanka assured all kind of assistance for the displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka.According to the Government of Sri Lanka, there were around 77,131 Tamil IDPs still in the camps as of 15 April 2010.

Earlier, on 12 August 2010, Mr S M Krishna, Honb’le Minister of External Affairs of India informed the Rajya Sabha that the Government of India announced Rs 500 crores for relief, rehabilitation and resettlement of the IDPs in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka. These funds included 2.5 lakh family relief packs of food, clothing and essential supplies; deployment of an emergency field hospital in Vavuniya, which treated around 50,000 patients from March-September 2009, two consignments of medicines, deployment of seven de-mining teams, 3 consignments of 2600 metric ton each of shelter material; 70,000 agricultural starter packs to revive agricultural activities; gifted 55 buses to Northern, Eastern and Central Province; conducted an artificial limb fitment camp and has also gifted 4 lakh cement bags for resettling IDP families to assist them to repair their damaged houses.

The same was reiterated during the visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse in June 2010.

Only if India remembered that there are IDPs too in India who are treated worse than the foreigners!

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