Pakistan urges UN to set up Commission to probe rights abuses in occupied Kashmir

New York, 31 October, 2018

Pakistan has reiterated its call on the UN to establish a Commission of inquiry to investigate the grave human rights violations in occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

The call was renewed by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi while speaking in a debate on Self Determination in the Third Committee of the UN’s 193-member General Assembly.

The report issued on Kashmir by the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights in June 2018 had made a recommendation for such an inquiry.

“We endorse the Report’s recommendation that a UN Inquiry Commission be constituted to investigate and redress the violations of human rights of the Kashmiri people”, the Pakistani envoy said during the debate.

Ambassador Lodhi said at the UN forum that the aspirations of the Kashmiri people to exercise their right to self-determination would have been fulfilled decades ago had India not brutally suppressed their legitimate struggle.

She said that the right of self-determination was promised to the people of Jammu and Kashmir by UN Security Council as well as by the governments of India and Pakistan. But instead, India had unleashed a reign of terror to crush the will of the Kashmiri people.

Highlighting the gross violations of human rights committed by Indian occupying forces Ambassador Lodhi said that independent human rights observers had repeatedly documented these atrocities. Most significant among them, she said, was the recent report by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued earlier this year.

Ambassador Lodhi reaffirmed Pakistan continued support for the just struggle of people of Kashmir. “Jammu and Kashmir will remain on the UN agenda until the Kashmiri people are allowed to exercise their will, according to agreed methods prescribed by the Security Council”, she added.

“As a fundamental norm of international law”, she said, “the right to self-determination is not only enshrined in the UN Charter, but is also an overarching principle in all other landmark documents”.

“This right also gives meaning to the very first phrase of the UN Charter – we the peoples”, Ambassador Lodhi said, arguing that denying this right to people living under foreign occupation “would be contrary to the very essence and spirit of the UN and all that it stands for”.

She underscored that international law demands that the right to self-determination is exercised freely and without any threat or use of coercion. She also said that this right does not lapse with the passage of time as “law has no expiry

This is the second time this week that the Pakistani envoy has raised the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in the important Committee of General Assembly dealing with human rights.

In her statement, Ambassador Lodhi also expressed concern at the rise of racism, xenophobia and intolerance. Such divisive forces, she said, posed a grave threat to international peace and security.

“Pakistan is committed to build bridges of understanding and to challenge and resist those who seek to erect walls of bigotry and hatred, which threaten to reverse the march of civilization”, she concluded.