Pakistan has raked up the issue of alleged human rights violation in Kashmir at the UN’s Committee on Information to which India raised strong objection, saying it was irrelevant to the work of the panel. Pakistan’s delegate Masood Anwar, addressing a session of Committee on Information yesterday, raised the issue of Kashmir alleging that human rights violations are taking place against the people of Kashmir. “The world we live today is marred with conflict and strife while we maintain unity in fighting terrorism and extremism. Countering the narrative of this twisted ideologies is imperative,” Anwar said during a General Debate on Committee on Information. He said the UN’s Department of Public Information (DPI) can play an important role in defusing tensions and promoting interfaith harmony. “Human rights violations in particular are a matter of serious concern to the international community,” he said.
He urged DPI to highlight situations where “grave violations of human rights are taking place”, especially against the Rohingya, Kashmiris and Palestinians. India strongly rejected Anwar’s reference to Kashmir, saying his remarks are irrelevant to the work of the Committee. “We have seen another attempt here today to make reference to issues extraneous to the agenda of the Committee. We completely reject these remarks as they have no relevance to the work of the Committee,” S Srinivas Prasad, Minister in the Indian Mission to the UN, said during the session. In his statement, Prasad said India supports the DPI’s work on counter-terrorism. “India is opposed to all forms of terrorism and believes that effective cooperation among countries is necessary to combat the threat,” he said.
He referred to the production of the documentary ‘Surviving Terrorism: Victim’s voices’ on the survivors of the Norway terror attack of 2011, saying civilians affected by terrorism is an “untold story” and hoped that the DPI will pick up more such stories from terrorist violence affected countries. He, however, voiced concern over declining financial resources that have presented a serious constraint on the ability of the DPI to carry out its mandated tasks especially in non-official languages. DPI needs to look at innovative ways to raise resources beyond the regular budgetary allocations, including through voluntary contributions to continue and expand its global outreach activities, especially in the widely-spoken non-official languages, he said. Prasad voiced appreciation over expansion in the number of languages in which UN guided tours are offered.
He pointed out that guided tours of the world body have been very popular with Indian tourists in the city, urging the addition of a guided tour in Hindi to facilitate Indian tourists. Prasad also noted that the Department facilitated the on-location filming of Bollywood film ‘Padman’ at the United Nations headquarters in November 2017. Akshay Kumar-starrer Padman was the second movie after ‘Half Girlfriend’ to use the UN as a backdrop of its story. The film is based on menstrual hygiene, an issue relating to the Sustainable Development Goal number four that focusses on achieving inclusive and equitable quality education for all.