The United Nations expressed its concerns today about what it called the "deprivation" of human rights of the people in Jammu and Kashmir -- a comment that coincided with the visit of a group of lawmakers from the European Union to the area. In a tweet, the UN asked India to "unlock the situation and fully restore the rights that are currently being denied".
The tweet from the official handle of the UN's Geneva Office had Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights saying the people of Kashmir "continues to be deprived of a wide range of human rights".
The tweet came as a group of 23 lawmakers of the European Union visited Jammu and Kashmir, where restrictions are in place since the Centre's decision to end special status to the state under Article 370 and split it into two union territories.
This is the first visit by an international group in Jammu and Kashmir since the Centre's move and comes weeks after the European Union expressed similar concerns.
At his meeting with the lawmakers yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said it should "give them a clear view of the development and governance priorities of the region".
In a communique yesterday, the government said, "Prime Minister, while welcoming the delegation to India, expressed the hope that they have a fruitful visit to various parts of the country, including to Jammu and Kashmir. Their visit to Jammu and Kashmir should give the delegation a better understanding of the cultural and religious diversity of the region of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh; apart from giving them a clear view of the development and governance priorities of the region."
The Centre had earlier assured the international community that it was taking steps to normalise the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. The steps had been lauded by lawmakers from the US and the EU, who had however, expressed concerns about the remaining restrictions.
Last month, the United Nations had indicated its acknowledgement of the Indian stance that Jammu and Kashmir is a bilateral issue and said dialogue between India and Pakistan is an "absolute essential element for the solution".
Asked by the Pakistani media about a "solution to this crisis", United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had said: "Our capacity is related to good offices, and good office can only be implemented when good offices is accepted, and on the other hand it is related to advocacy and the advocacy was expressed and advocacy will be maintained".
"I will go on with the clear opinion that human rights must be fully respected in the territory and I go on with a clear opinion that dialogue between India and Pakistan is an absolute essential element for the solution," he added.