NEW YORK (Dispatches) - United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has voiced grave concerns about human rights violations against children in the Indian-administered Kashmir.
“I call upon the [Indian] government to take preventive measures to protect children, including by ending the use of pellets against children, ensuring that children are not associated in any way to security forces, and endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration and the Vancouver Principles,” Guterres said in the UN Report on Children 2021 released on Tuesday.
The UN report cited numerous violations involving Indian forces attacking Kashmiri children in the Indian-administered Kashmir.
“A total of 39 children (33 boys, 6 girls) were killed (9) and maimed (30) by pellet guns (11) and torture (2) by unidentified perpetrators (13) (including resulting from explosive remnants of war (7), crossfire between unidentified armed groups and Indian security forces (3), crossfire between unidentified armed groups, and grenade attacks (3)), Indian security forces (13), and crossfire and shelling across the line of control (13),” it said.
The UN secretary-general also condemned the military occupation of several schools in the Indian-administered Kashmir by the New Delhi forces.
“The United Nations verified the use of seven schools by Indian security forces for four months. Schools were vacated by the end of 2020,” it said.
Guterres expressed “alarm” over “detention and torture” by the Indian troops and their overall use of force against Kashmiri children in the Muslim-majority region.
“I am alarmed at the detention and torture of children and concerned by the military use of schools,” he said.
The UN chief called on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to ensure that children were kept out of way of “all forms of ill-treatment” when taken into detention in prisons in the Indian-administrated Kashmir.
The disputed Muslim-majority Kashmir, located in the Himalaya region, is mainly divided between India and Pakistan, while a third strip of land in northern Kashmir is held by China.
The people in Kashmir have been fighting New Delhi for independence or unification with neighboring Pakistan since the two countries were partitioned in 1947.