New Delhi: Raising the issue of violence in Haryana and Manipur, UN human rights chief Volker Türk on Monday, September 11, called for India to “redouble efforts” to uphold the rights of all minorities.
At the start of the 54th session of UN Human Rights Council on Monday, Türk gave the usual oral update on the human rights situation across the world from the Sahel region to Pakistan and India to Peru.
Speaking on the situation in India, the UN human rights commissioner said that his office “frequently receives information that marginalised minority communities are subjected to violence and discrimination”.
He noted that “Muslims are often the target of such attacks, most recently in Haryana and Gurugram, in northern India”.
Last month, riots spread across Haryana after violence erupted during a procession taken out by Vishwa Hindu Parishad. At least seven deaths were reported and there were 200 reported injuries in the clashes which lasted over a week.
Türk then brought up the northeastern state which has seen no end to its ethnic violence for the last four months. “In Manipur, other communities have also been facing violence and insecurity since May.” As per reports, more than 200 people have died and over 70,000 people have been displaced.
He concluded his remarks on India by highlighting the “clear need to redouble efforts to uphold the rights of all minorities, by dealing in a forthright manner with intolerance, hate speech, religious extremism and discrimination”.
The UN human rights commissioner raised concern that the Pakistan government was considering amending its blasphemy laws to increase penalties. “Passage of this legislation would constitute a major step away from the changes urged by international human rights bodies,” Türk said.
He also raised the vandalism of dozens of churches and Christian domes in Faisalabad by a large mob of thousands of people.
A career UN official, the Austrian national has been the UN human rights commissioner since October 2022.
In his speech, Türk referred to the concerns about the human rights situation in China’s Xinjiang province which were released in a report on the last working day of his predecessor, Michele Bachelet.
“As my Office highlighted a year ago, the concerns in Xinjiang UAR require strong remedial action by the authorities, as per our recommendations. I also remain troubled by the continued detention of human rights advocates,” he said.