At UN Pakistan exposes India's human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir

New York, 24 May, 2019

At the UN, Pakistan exposed the systematic violations of international humanitarian law by occupying forces in Jammu and Kashmir and said that India was showing utter disregard for human life by its policies of repression.

Speaking in the UN Security Council debate on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, said that perpetrators of horrific crimes in occupied Jammu and Kashmir were not only protected by black laws but also honoured by the military command.

She told the 15-member world body that reports of the use of torture as an instrument of repression in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir had been verified by the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions and Torture as well as by prominent human rights groups in India.

She drew the Council ‘s attention to a recent evidence-based report that once again highlighted the culture of impunity and cited multiple cases of chilling methods used to torture civilians in occupied Kashmir.

Urging the Security Council to focus on addressing the root causes of emerging and longstanding disputes including Kashmir and Palestine, Ambassador Lodhi said that inaction by the Council in cases of foreign aggression and occupation comes at a high human cost.

It was unfortunate, she asserted, that “we continue to see legal and moral values sacrificed at the altar of political expediency”.

Describing the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their additional protocols as the bedrock of international humanitarian law, she said “The spirit of these Conventions is to uphold human dignity even in the midst of war, and it is as important today as it was 70 years ago”.

Pointing out that international humanitarian law continues to be flouted whenever and wherever hostilities break, she said women also continue to bear the main brunt of these atrocities.

“Whether it is plausible deniability or abuse, the grim reality is, when the beast of conflict roars, legal regimes fall silent," she told the Security Council.

“The cardinal principles of distinction and discrimination between civilians and combatants, military necessity, and proportionality, continue to be violated, and warring parties continue to operate with impunity”, she added.

While maintaining that the goal of protection of civilians could best be achieved by preventing the outbreak of armed conflict in the first place, Ambassador Lodhi stressed that international conventions regarding protection of civilians in armed conflicts remained an integral part of international law and law had to be upheld in all situations.

Protection of civilians should be a priority for UN peacekeeping operations, Ambassador Lodhi said. "As one of the world’s leading troop contributors to UN Peacekeeping, Pakistan's well-trained and professional peacekeepers have protected civilians, provided them much-needed medical care, and rebuilt communities."