At UN, Pakistan calls for raising funds to help handicapped people lead better life
UN to ensure inclusion, access to social protection programmes & universal health coverage
UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan urged the world community to mobilize financial resources to provide assistive technology devices, products and services to the more than 1 billion persons with disabilities in an effort to improve their living standards, independence and social inclusion.
“Recognition of right to development of persons with disabilities can provide a formidable foundation for international cooperation and solidarity,” Pakistani delegate Saima Saleem told a meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on Wednesday.
Ms Saleem, a counsellor at the Pakistan Mission to the UN who is herself visually impaired, said the coronavirus pandemic has posed greater challenges for persons with disabilities, and, apart from mobilization of funds for assistive technology devices for them, she made a series of proposals for staging a “resilient” recovery.
The proposals included:
— The international community step up its efforts to fulfill sustainable development needs of persons with disabilities by implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
— Member states, United Nations and business enterprises create employment opportunities by providing reasonable accommodations, as also reservation of employment quotas for persons with disabilities;
— Developing and Least Developed Countries be provided necessary funding through International Financial Institutions, ODA (official development assistance) and donor assistance to help persons with disabilities improve their living standards.
— Ensure inclusion and access to social protection programmes and universal health coverage;
— Member states and the United Nations re-double their efforts to make infrastructure accessible; and,
— Urgently deal with Human rights violations of persons with disabilities in conflict settings and situations of foreign occupation.
“Addressing developmental needs and ensuring human rights of persons with disabilities is crucial for creating inclusive and participatory societies,” the Pakistani delegate said at the outset of her remarks.
“As a State Party to Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities since 2011, Ms. Saleem said, the Pakistani government continues to promote and protect human rights and developmental needs of persons with disabilities, through a wide range of legal, policy and administrative measures.
These included: formulation of ICT Act for Persons with Disabilities 2021; reservation of 2% quota across the board in public sector employment; integration of the rights of persons with disabilities in all programs and activities related to relief and rehabilitation during disasters by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA); inclusion in universal health coverage and social protection schemes; and introduction of inclusive education. Adding to this, Pakistan has called on the UN Human Rights Council to take “credible steps” to uphold Kashmiri people’s fundamental rights, and to hold India accountable for its illegal colonization and rights abuses in the disputed territory.
“Today, Pakistan echoes this call for action to address the growing human rights crisis in occupied Kashmir,” Ambassador Khalil Hashmi, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN in Geneva, told the 47-member council.
“The global flag-bearers of human rights must break their deafening silence, and call India out for its atrocities against the Kashmiris,” he said during interactive dialogue on the annual report of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, at the Council’s 50th session.
At the outset, the Pakistani envoy welcomed High Commissioner’s continued monitoring and reporting on India’s escalating human rights violations in Occupied Jammu & Kashmir.
“India continues to subvert the UN Charter principles, Security Council resolutions and 4th Geneva Convention provisions by illegally altering demographics of the disputed territory,” Ambassador Hashmi said.
In doing so, he said, the Indian colonist machinery had resorted to the worst form of state terrorism against the Kashmiri people, while referring to Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik’s conviction through a “sham trial” that exemplified New Delhi’s systematic suppression of indigenous Kashmiri voices.
Every day, the Pakistani envoy added, Kashmiri people were braving a human rights tragedy.
“Armed with oppressive laws, over 800,000 Indian occupation troops continue to unlawfully kill, torture, arrest and maim Kashmiri people with full impunity behind an iron curtain,” Ambassador Hashmi said.
“To hide its transgressions, the Hindutva Raj has installed a pliant judiciary, gagged local media, persecuted civil society, and denied access to the UN human rights machinery.”
The UN Special Procedures have publicly raised concerns about the devastating human rights impacts of India’s demographic engineering and called on the international community to ‘step up’, he pointed out.
The Pakistani envoy urged the High Commissioner to issue an updated report about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir in exercise of her prevention mandate.
He commended Ms. Bachelet, the High Commissioner, for her leadership role during the last four years and wished her success in her future endeavors. Ms. Bachelet, a former president of Chile, is stepping down from her post in August.
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