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Oslo asks Delhi to abide by UN convention on missing persons in IHK

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The Norwegian government has termed ‘alarming’ the recent information about new discoveries of unidentified graves in Indian-controlled Kashmir despite India being signatory to UN’s Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Responding to a question by parliamentary Leader and Chairman Christen Democratic party, Member Kashmir Parliamentary Committee Dagfinn Høybråten (KRF), the Norwegian foreign minister Mr.Jonas Gahr Støre said, ‘We are concerned that India and Pakistan, as all other countries, do act in accordance with their obligations to the international law.

Noted politician Dagfinn Høybråten has inquired through the parliament from the foreign minister as to whether the Norwegian authorities would contact the Indian government or human rights organizations so such an independent investigation can be performed into the discovery of mass graves of hundreds of unidentified bodies.

The house was also informed that Norway has made it as its main point to work to ensure that all UN member states fully cooperate with United Nations Commission on Human Rights and United Nations independent human rights experts that reports annually to the Council and the general meeting. The foreign minister told the parliament that Kashmir is a strongly militarized conflict area.

Oslo noted that the India-Pakistan dialogue has shown small but clear signs of progress. The FM termed the development ‘positive because it can give the peace process a stronger popular support of people and by that increate its legitimacy’. Norway is home of large number of Kashmiri and Pakistani population while Kashmiri-Scandinavian Council (KSC) remains a top lobbyist group based in Oslo.

After the last years unstable political situation in Pakistan, the minister said in the parliament, ‘it was positive that a new meeting between the parties took place this month, even though the meeting itself did not create new progress’. Dagfinn was informed that the international community and Norway can support the political process by encouraging the continued progress in the talks.

Norway’s contact with the two countries has in recent years increased substantially. The foreign minister observed that the prime minister visited New Delhi in March, and he visited Pakistan in January. In June, the Norwegian-Indian collaboration commission met here in Oslo. He said partially Norway-funded ICRC has an agreement that ‘ensures access to prisons in Kashmir and through this agreement they are doing a very important effort to prevent and uncover injustice against the population.’ Oslo also voiced support for the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) which works for the open flow of information, also when it comes to difficult issues and to contribute to increased mutual trust between the two countries.-SANA

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