Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations in the Debate of the Special Political and Decolonization (4th) Committee on the Decolonization Items New York (October 14, 2015)

Mr. Chairman,

The delegation of Pakistan would like to congratulate you and members of the Bureau on assuming office. We look forward to a fruitful session under your guidance.

Pakistan associates itself with the statement made by Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Mr. Chairman,

We thank the Chair and the Bureau of the Special Committee on Decolonization for their important work.

Pakistan appreciates the contribution of the Special Committee with regard to the UNís unfinished agenda of decolonization under the relevant resolutions of the United Nations. We also express our support for the recommendations contained in its Report A/70/23.

We have noted that the Special Committee continued its practice of informal consultations with the administering Powers and other stakeholders during the intercessional period. Their meeting with the Secretary General also provided an opportunity to discuss ways to further the work of the Special Committee.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan firmly believes in the right to self determination as one of the fundamental human rights of all peoples. It is unfortunate that even in the 21st century, we have territories under the yoke of colonialism and foreign occupation.

The persistence of colonialism and foreign occupations is a travesty of the universal principle of political and economic freedom of all people. And this cannot be justified or explained away under any circumstances.

As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, and adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030, that are based on inclusivity and on "leaving no one behind", let us reflect for a moment on what the future holds for people and territories that are unable to exercise their right to self determination. Would they be able to benefit from the Sustainable Development Goals like the rest of the world?

The United Nations has a moral responsibility towards these territories and people. They look towards the UN with hope every year but sadly progress has been agonalisingly slow. We are already half way through the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism. Its unfinished agenda must be completed.

Mr. Chairman,

The work of decolonization can only be as effective as we, the membership, enable it to be. Without political will from both the General Assembly and the Security Council, implementation of recommendations of the Special Committee and its decisions is not possible.

A concerted effort is required for uniform and non-discriminatory implementation of Security Council resolutions. Selective implementation erodes the confidence of the international community and undermines the credibility of the UN system. It also deepens conflict and compounds the sufferings of the people. It must not be allowed to continue.

Mr. Chairman,

The right to self-determination is the fundamental principle driving the struggle against colonial domination and foreign occupation. It is a fundamental human right, guaranteed by the Charter, and recognized under the relevant human rights conventions. Decolonization and the right to self-determination are objectives of such importance, scope and global relevance, that they cannot be limited to the Non-Self Governing Territories alone. Their application is universal.

The 2005 World Summit reaffirmed the imperative to uphold the right to self-determination of peoples, who remain under colonial domination and foreign occupation.

Denial of the right to self-determination in areas under colonial subjugation or foreign occupation sparks conflict and suffering, and threatens peace and security. Denial of this right undermines peace and stability of different regions.

In South Asia, the inalienable right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir is recognized and acknowledged by several Security Council Resolutions. Pakistan is committed to finding a peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute acceptable to all sides, and reflecting the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The decolonization agenda of the United Nations would be incomplete and unfinished without resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, during the General Debate of the 70th UNGA said and I quote:

"In 1997 when the Composite Dialogue was launched with India, our two countries agreed that this would encompass two principal items: Kashmir and Peace and Security".

The Kashmir dispute remains unresolved. Security Council resolutions remain unimplemented. Over 100,000 Kashmiris have died in their struggle for self-determination. Three generations of Kashmiris have seen broken promises, yet brutal oppression continues. It is the most persistent failure of the United Nations.

We hope that the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations will spur the organization into action on one of the oldest items on the UN agenda.

Mr. Chairman,

In the Middle East, Pakistan continues to support the just struggle of the Palestinian people for peace and freedom as well as the quest for UN Membership for the State of Palestine. A strong and viable Palestinian state established according to the wishes and aspirations of the Palestinian people can be the best guarantor of peace.

Let me conclude by stressing that, unless we achieve complete decolonization and end to all foreign occupation, the vision of free and independent nations, on which the United Nations itself is predicated, would remain unfulfilled.

I thank you.