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India slams UN Special Rapporteur for raising Kashmir issue ahead of G20 meeting

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New Delhi/Geneva: India on Tuesday slammed UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues Fernand de Varennes and said he has “acted irresponsibly to politicize” the issue of Jammu and Kashmir by claiming that New Delhi is holding a G20 meeting in the Union Territory to “normalise its suppression of minorities”.

In tweets, India’s Permanent Mission in Geneva said they strongly reject his statement, and the baseless and unwarranted allegations levelled by him. India also said that as G20 President it is its prerogative to host G20 meetings in any part of the country.

India also said that de Varennes has misused his position as special rapporteur to publicize on social media “his presumptive and prejudiced conclusions in a gross violation of the Code of Conduct for rapporteurs”.

“We @IndiaUNGeneva strongly reject the statement issued by SR on minority issues @fernanddev & the baseless & unwarranted allegations in it. As G20 President, it’s India’s prerogative to host its meetings in any part of the country.

“We are aghast that @fernanddev has acted irresponsibly to politicize this issue, misused his position as SR to publicize on social media his presumptive and prejudiced conclusions in a gross violation of the Code of Conduct for SRs,” India said.

The response came after de Varennes in tweets said: “Holding a #g20 meeting in #jammuandkashmir while massive #humanrights violations are ongoing is lending support to attemps by #India to normalize the brutal & repressive denial of democratic & other rights of #kashmiri #Muslims and #minoritie.

“G20 should on the contrary uphold “International human rights obligations & the #UN Declaration of Human Rights should be upheld… and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir should be decried and condemned, not pushed under the rug and ignored with the holding of this meeting”.”

India is holding the G20 meeting of the working group on tourism in Srinagar on May 22-24.

Earlier this month, Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had raised the issue of India hosting the G20 meeting in Jammu and Kashmir during a restricted press briefing in Goa, on the sidelines of the SCO Foreign Ministers’ meeting there. He was roundly ticked off by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who said Pakistan is not a member of the G20 and therefore has no locus standi to comment on the issue, and also that Kashmir is and will always remain an integral part of India.

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