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UN special rapporteur on human rights arrives in Srinagar

Jammu And Kashmir,Kashmir, Mon, 26 Mar 2012 IANS

Srinagar, March 26 (IANS) The United Nations' special rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary and arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns arrived in Jammu and Kashmir on a two-day visit Monday.


Addressing a media conference after his arrival here, Heyns said: 'My mandate is to visit different countries and report back on the people's right to life. The goal of my mandate is to protect the right to life around the world which is fundamental to all other human rights - to report violations of this right and to recommend measures to stop such violations.'



Heyns is on a two-week visit to India and this is for the first time that the UN rapporteur on extra judicial, summary and arbitrary executions has been allowed to visit India.



Heyns said he would release a preliminary report at the end of his visit in Delhi and after that, submit his final report to the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC).



'During my stay here (Srinagar), I will meet government officials including those from the police, the army, local academicians, rights victims etc.,' Heyns said.



The media briefing was facilitated by the local Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) who have been seeking the whereabouts of their loved ones who disappeared after being allegedly picked up by the security forces.



Senior local advocate Zaffar Shah who shared the stage with Heyns, said sweeping powers like the Public Safety Act (PSA) and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) were available to the authorities which made normal judicial remedies unavailable to those seeking judicial intervention against misuse of powers by the security forces in Kashmir.



The special UN rapporteur later had a closed-door interaction with the victims of alleged security forces excesses and those whose family members have been missing during the last 20 years of violence in the Kashmir Valley.



The victims included relatives of those killed in some highly controversial incidents including Chittisinghpura, Pathribal, Ganderbal and Machil.


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