‘Civilians whether in Gaza, Kashmir or Yemen, need to be protected’
United Nations: UN chief Antonio Guterres is “very concerned” over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and wants all member states to protect their civilians, his spokesperson has said.
His remarks came after Indian forces on Sunday killed 13 militants and four civilians in three encounters that also claimed the lives of three Army soldiers and four civilians in Anantnag and Shopian districts of Jammu and Kashmir. One more civilian, hit by firearm in head, succumbed to his injuries at a hospital on Tuesday.
“The Secretary-General is, indeed, very concerned about the situation that we’ve seen in Jammu and Kashmir. He reminds that Member States are responsible under international humanitarian law to protect civilians,” Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, told reporters here at his daily press briefing on Tuesday.
He said the Secretary-General reiterated his call on nations to find ways to address disputes in a peaceful manner.
He added that civilians need to be protected wherever they are, “whether it’s in Gaza, whether it’s in Jammu and Kashmir, or whether it’s in Yemen. It’s a basic principle of this organisation.”
When asked if the Secretary General is calling for an investigation into the matter, Dujarric said “any loss of civilians needs to be investigated wherever they occur”.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council’s President for the month of April Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra of Peru said the Council had no plans to discuss the situation in Kashmir.
“This is an important topic but at this time there is no consensus in order to address it. So for the time being, we don’t have anything planned on the program, we haven’t scheduled a discussion on that topic for the time being,” Meza-Cuadra, Peru’s Permanent Representative to the UN, told reporters here on Monday.
He was asked by a Pakistani journalist whether the Council, under Peru’s Presidency, will discuss the ongoing situation in Kashmir.