Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations in the Third Committee, on Agenda Item 74: Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (29 October 2018)

Mr. Chairman,

We thank the Secretary General and Special Rapporteurs for their comprehensive reports.

The ideals of promoting and protecting human rights are well codified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted 70 years ago.

This has served as a catalyst of progress.

The legal framework is all there. It is the persistent failure to comply with these obligations that remains the abiding challenge.

There is therefore no room for complacency. Cardinal principles of human dignity continue to be violated. Millions of people around the world continue to endure the horrors of armed conflicts and millions suffer under foreign occupation. Egregious and systematic violations of human rights are taking place every day. And plausible deniability has become the new norm.

A telling example of impunity is India’s consistent denial of the right to self-determination to the people of Jammu & Kashmir, as promised to them by Security Council resolutions. And when they demand this right, the people of Jammu and Kashmir are met with repression and ruthless human rights abuses at the hands of Indian occupying forces.

The latest report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights lifts the veil from decades of obfuscation of massive violations of human rights in Indian occupied Kashmir. The situation remains a blot on the conscience of humanity, and one that demands immediate corrective action.

Mr. Chairman,

While civil and political rights are the foundation of human freedom and dignity, there is need to give equal attention to economic, social and cultural rights. They, in turn, facilitate realization of civil and political rights. We must therefore take steps to promote the right to development and environmental rights of people.

Mr. Chairman,

As humanity stretches the frontiers of freedom, we often choose to suspend empathy, compassion and understanding, humanity’s greatest strengths. We should not allow diversity of backgrounds, beliefs and perspectives to be endangered by the demons of hate and extremism.

We need to create and strengthen the necessary safeguards against new and contemporary manifestations of discrimination, xenophobia and Islamophobia. Promotion of a culture of peace, as well as dialogue and cooperation between religions and civilizations would help us achieve this objective.

Together with the Philippines, Pakistan co-sponsors a resolution to promote interfaith and inter-cultural dialogue. Pakistan also strongly supports the OIC resolution on combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and violence on the basis of religion in this regard.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan supports the mandates of the Special Rapporteurs. They are entrusted with specific tasks to report under carefully crafted inter-governmentally agreed mandates. They must discharge their responsibilities with full independence within the given mandates, with impartiality, transparency and non-selectivity, and without any politicization.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan has an abiding commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights at the national and international levels. Our constitution devotes a chapter to the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of all, without discrimination. Our executive, parliament, judiciary, civil society and media stand guard to protect these constitutional rights.

My country’s new government headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan is committed to the consolidation of democratic institutions, protection of human rights, consolidation of the rule of law and improving good governance. It has launched a new framework for social change, which focuses on education, health, women, youth, and minorities.

My country will continue to support an equitable, just and fair order, both globally and at home. We will continue our efforts to choose dialogue over division, harmony over intolerance and Right over Might.

I thank you.