UN human rights chief speaks about farmers protest

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United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet (Image Source: Twitter/Michelle Bachelet)

India’s Permanent Representative to the UNHRC Indra Mani Pandey said the UN human rights chief’s stand lacked “objectivity and impartiality.”

On Friday, the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet commented on the farmers protest in India and criticized India  for departing from “essential human rights principles.”

During her address at the 46th Session of UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Bachelet said: “In India, continued protests by hundreds of thousands of farmers highlight the importance of ensuring laws and policies are based on meaningful consultations with those concerned.” 

Bachelet also criticized the sedition charges against journalists and activists for reporting or commenting on the farmers protest. She said: “Charges of sedition against journalists and activists for reporting or commenting on the protests, and attempts to curb freedom of expression on social media, are disturbing departures from essential human rights principles.” She also said that she hopes the ongoing dialogue efforts by both sides will lead to an equitable solution to the farmers’ crisis and respects the rights of all.

The UN human rights chief also said that they are monitoring the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, “where restrictions on communications, and clampdowns on civil society activists, remain of concern.”

Meanwhile, India’s Permanent Representative to the UNHRC Indra Mani Pandey countered Bachelet’s stand and said it lacked “objectivity and impartiality.” Pandey said that the farm laws will benefit small farmers and offer more options to those farmers who choose them. He added that the Indian government has shown the utmost respect for the protesting farmers and has remained engaged in discussion with them to address their concerns. 

Pandey said: “Given these developments, we were perplexed to note some of the comments. She appeared as oblivious of the enormous efforts made by my Government to address the challenges. The unprovoked violence on our Republic Day in the name of farmers’ rights, apparently, left her unmoved. Her indifference to terrorism is, of course, not new. Objectivity and impartiality have to be the hallmarks of any Human Rights assessment. We are sorry to see that the High Commissioner’s oral update is lacking in both.”

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