Pakistan shows grave concerns over deteriorating Human Rights situation in IIOJK

Pakistan pursuing zero-tolerance policy towards all form of discrimination, violence & abuse

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ISLAMABAD, Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen M Mazari on Monday addressed the 49th session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Security Council. She said that women in “Palestine and Kashmir” continuously became victim of brutal occupations and the occupiers are exempt from global scrutiny. Structural flaws in global economic governance continue to hinder basic human rights, she added. Respect for universal values and principles are continuously sacrificed at the altar of strategic and commercial interests. State-sponsored Islamophobia with women and girls being the worst victims and extremist ideologies are also on the rise. These disturbing trends are visible in the global response to the COVID-pandemic, where vaccine inequity and vaccine nationalism are outweighing global solidarity. Structural flaws in the global economic governance continue to hinder the realization of basic rights and even recovery from the pandemic. Failure to fulfill development financing commitments has not only halted progress in achieving SDGs but has also exacerbated the climate crisis. This Council must redouble its efforts to respond meaningfully to these growing challenges. Pakistan is committed to upholding its human rights obligations and remains actively engaged with the Council and its allied mechanisms. We look forward to constructive dialogue and engagement in our upcoming UPR review. Regardless of several socio-economic challenges, we are determined to advance and safeguard basic rights of all our citizens including children, women, elderly, persons with disabilities and transgender persons. The vision for a compassionate, peaceful and inclusive society remains at the core of my Government’s human rights policies. We have advanced legislation on torture and enforced disappearances for consideration by the Parliament. We are pursuing a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of discrimination, violence, and abuse. We have reformed our Criminal Law, strengthened our anti-workplace harassment law and Anti-Rape Act. We have launched the first ever National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights after extensive multi-stakeholder consultations. We continue to create enabling environment for enhanced civic engagement and participation. We have promulgated a comprehensive law to further advance independence and safety of journalists. We have established new institutional mechanisms to alleviate poverty, to empower women and our youth, to reduce inequalities and provide viable social safety nets. We have begun putting in place a universal healthcare scheme so that every citizen can avail free quality health care as we move towards making Pakistan a welfare state. Pakistan is gravely concerned over the deteriorating human rights conditions in Jammu & Kashmir which remains under illegal occupation of India. During the last two and a half years, the Indian occupation machinery has accelerated the scale and pace of demographic changes in this UN-recognized disputed territory. By deploying dubious laws, India has granted over 4 million domiciles to non-Kashmiris thereby legalizing their permanent settlement, purchase of properties, and local employment. These unlawful actions constitute willful non-compliance by India of its obligations under the UN Charter, UN Security Council resolutions, and the 4th Geneva Convention. These illegal measures are designed to convert the Kashmiri majority into a minority in their own homeland and to deny them their inalienable right to self-determination. Let us be clear. India is using an old playbook to deflect international censure. The Indian regime first de-humanizes the Kashmiris by labeling them “terrorists” and then unleashes the most brutal campaign to kill and maim them. The BJP-RSS regime is pursuing a policy of ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri people. Genocide Watch has already sounded the alarm bells. It has warned and I quote “Indian government’s actions in Kashmir have been an extreme case of persecution and could very well lead to genocide”. Over 800,000 personnel of Indian occupation forces have intensified systematic use of summary executions, torture, destruction of civilian infrastructure and use of rape as form of collective punishment to repress the legitimate Kashmiri freedom struggle. Snatching of the mortal remains of the great Kashmiri leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani; illegal arrest and detention of Kashmiri activist Mr. Khurram Pervaiz; staging of Hyderpora fake encounter; and attack on Kashmir Press Club are only some examples of India’s state-led terrorism and we have also unveiled a detailed dossier on Indian transgressions in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Local human rights institutions have been stifled; and a pliant judiciary has been installed, depriving Kashmiri people of even a modicum of access to justice. Impunity for Indian forces has become even more pervasive under the cover of oppressive laws. It is a matter of record that not a single member of the Indian army has so far been prosecuted for these widely documented abuses. Simultaneously, India has stonewalled any impartial assessment by its continued denial of access to UN human rights machinery, independent observers and media. Indian State oppression has expanded beyond occupied Kashmir to its mainland as well, under the Nazi-inspired Hindutva ideology. The UN institutions, OIC, Parliaments, global media and independent human rights organizations have called India out for its gross and systematic violations of Kashmiri rights. As the global standard-bearer on human rights, this Council must also act and prevent the growing human rights crimes in occupied Jammu & Kashmir. At a minimum, four steps are essential: One, the Council should press India to reverse its illegal actions taken since 5th August, uphold basic rights of Kashmiri people, especially their inalienable right to self-determination, and allow access to independent monitors. Two, the Council should lend its support to the recommendation contained in the High Commissioner’s two Kashmir reports, calling for establishment of an independent Commission of Inquiry. Three, the High Commissioner should publish an updated Kashmir report, in exercise of her monitoring and prevention mandate, on the basis of extensive documentation made available by independent observers from across the world. Four, the global flag-bearers of human rights should break their eerie silence, and speak out against Indian atrocities. Credible actions are necessary to prevent further loss of lives, rights and dignity of the Kashmiri people. Appeasement is not an option. Doing so will only embolden the oppressor and reward impunity. It is time to walk the talk and stand up for justice, freedom and human rights.

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