India on Tuesday strongly rebutted criticism by the United Nations Human Rights Council of its handling of the issue of Rohingya Muslims, saying it was based on selective and inaccurate reports and stressed that like other nations, New Delhi too is concerned about illegal migrants as they could pose security challenges.
“Tendentious judgements made on the basis of selective and even inaccurate reports do not further the understanding of human rights in any society,” India said in a terse response to some of the observations made by the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the 36th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday.
“We are perplexed at some of the observations made by the High Commissioner (for Human Rights) in his oral update. There appears to be inadequate appreciation of the freedoms and rights that are guaranteed and practised daily in a vibrant democracy that has been built under challenging conditions,” India’s Permanent Representative to UN Rajiv K. Chander said in a statement.
“Like many other nations, India is concerned about illegal migrants, in particular, with the possibility that they could pose security challenges. Enforcing the laws should not be mistaken for lack of compassion,” the statement said.
On Monday the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein criticised India for deporting Rohingyas to Myanmar where they are facing persecution.
Al Hussein had said: “The Minister of State for Home Affairs (Kiren Rijiju) has reportedly said that because India is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention, the country can dispense with international law on the matter, together with basic human compassion.”
The High Commissioner also mentioned journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder and mob lynching incidents due to cow vigilantism.
India in its statement on Tuesday said: “It is also surprising that individual incidents are being extrapolated to suggest a broader societal situation. India is proud of its independent judiciary, freedom of press, vibrant civil society and respect for rule of law and human rights.”
“A more informed view would have not only recognized this but also noted, for example, that the Prime Minister himself publicly condemned violence in the name of cow protection. India does not condone any actions in violation of law and imputations to the contrary are not justified,” it said.
“We have also noted that the issue of human rights situations in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir has been raised. It is a matter of regret that the central role of terrorism is once again being overlooked. Assessments of human rights should not be a matter of political convenience,” the statement further said.
India also mentioned that it was part of the first set of countries in the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
India said it believed that UPR is “not an end in itself” as observance and promotion of human rights is an ongoing process that “can be continuously strengthened”.