London [United Kingdom], Dec. 31 (ANI): The UK Government has taken up the issue of using pellet guns in Kashmir with India and has been assured that alternative methods of crowd control would be applied there.
This was stated by Baroness Anelay of St. John’s, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office while responding to a volley of written questions submitted by House of Lords MP Lord Nazir Ahmed.
Lord Ahmed has asked what assessment the government has made of reports on the use of high-powered pellet guns against protesters in Kashmir by Indian forces and what representations they have made to the government of India regarding this issue.
Baroness Anelay said that the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Alok Sharma discussed the use of pellet guns and alternative methods of crowd control in Kashmir with the Indian Government representatives in October.
The government of India has been reviewing the use of pellet guns in Kashmir. It is yet to make the review’s conclusions public, but there are reports that alternative methods of crowd control would be introduced.
“The UK abides by its commitments under international law and expects all countries to comply with their international legal obligations,” said Anelay.
“We engage with India on human rights matters and will continue to work collaboratively on the promotion and protection of human rights, he added.
Lord Ahmed also asked what was the government’s assessment of the human rights situation in Arakan state in Myanmar and what representations they have made to the government of Myanmar regarding reports of the killing of Rohingya Muslims.
Anelay responded saying, “The UK Government is concerned by a number of disturbing recent reports of human rights violations by security forces in Rakhine State. We have made several representations to the government of Burma calling for humanitarian access both through our Ambassador and also through Ministerial contacts. When I visited Burma from 9-12 November, I urged Burmese Government Ministers to set up a full and independent investigation into all reports of human rights violations. The Investigation Commission has now been established and will report back by 31 January 2017. We will continue to monitor its progress closely.”
Lord Ahmed also asked whether the government’s new definition of anti-Semitism will allow for the criticism of the government of Israel and its policies towards the Palestinian people.
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth responded saying, “The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism adopted by government does not preclude criticism of Israel. As the definition makes clear, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.” (ANI)