Geneva on Tuesday, Rupert Colville, Spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said the UN was also saddened by the further loss of life reported from subsequent gun battles in Pulwama yesterday, 18 February, which is reported to have claimed 9 more lives.
“We hope escalating tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours will not add further to the insecurity in the region,” he said.
Mr. Colville said the High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, is also concerned by reports from India that some elements are using the Pulwama attack as justification for threats and potential acts of violence targeting Kashmiri and Muslim communities living in different parts of India.
“We acknowledge actions taken by the Indian authorities to tackle these incidents and we hope that the Government will continue to take steps to protect people from all forms of harm that may be directed at them on account of their ethnicity or identity,” he stressed.
Guterres on Tuesday called on India and Pakistan to take steps to defuse tensions
“The Secretary-General has been following with great concern the situation in South Asia,” UN Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said in a statement on the 14 February terrorist attack that took place in the Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir.
According to media reports, tensions have been rising between India and Pakistan following the attack, which took place in a disputed territory that separates the two countries and resulted in the deaths of 40 Indian security personnel and the attacker.
Mr. Guterres reiterated his strong condemnation of the attack and stressed that it is essential that there be accountability under international law and the perpetrators of terrorist acts be brought swiftly to justice.
At the same time, the Secretary-General urgently appealed to the Governments of both India and Pakistan to exercise maximum restraint to ensure the situation does not further deteriorate.
“It is the belief of the Secretary-General that all difficult challenges can be resolved peacefully and satisfactorily through meaningful mutual engagement,” said the Spokesman.
The UN has long maintained an institutional presence in the contested area between India and Pakistan. According to the Security Council mandate given in resolution 307 of 1971, the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) observes and reports on ceasefire violations along and across the Line of Control and the working boundary between the South Asian neighbours in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as reports developments that could lead to ceasefire violations.
Saudi Minister of state for foreign affairs Adel al-Jubeir in an interview with India Today TV said: “We have said there are UN resolutions with regard to Kashmir that Saudi Arabia supports those.”
He said that Saudi Arabia has encouraged the two countries sit at the negotiating table and resolve those issues amicably, in a way that preserves the interest of Kashmiri people, and, also the interests of India and Pakistan.
“We believe where there is good will and honest dialogue a resolution to this issue can be achieved,” the Saudi FM said.
Asked that Pakistan was responsible for the “cross border terrorism,” Jubeir said that he was not sure who was responsible. “I am not aware of that,” he said.
In view of the Pulwama attack which left 49 CRPF men dead and triggered tensions between the two nuclear armed neighbors, the FM said the situation between India and Pakistan should be de-escalated.