Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations at the General Debate of the Special Political and Decolonization (Fourth Committee) on All Decolonization Issues (October 7, 2016)

Mr. Chairman,

We congratulate you and members of the Bureau on assuming office. We look forward to a productive session.

Pakistan associates itself with the statement made by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela 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. The contribution of the Special Committee with regard to the UNís unfinished agenda of decolonization is invaluable. We also support the recommendations of the Committee contained in its Report.

Mr. Chairman,

Colonialism in any form or manifestation is incompatible with the Charter of the United Nations, the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The General Assembly has reaffirmed, year after year, that in the process of decolonization, the principle of self-determination is a fundamental human right.

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

Mr. Chairman,

Progress on fulfillment of the critical but longstanding agenda of decolonization of the UN seems to have slowed down considerably at a time when the process is far from complete. We are already past the half way mark of the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism. We must intensify and re-energise our efforts to end colonialism in all its forms and manifestations.

The legal framework, in the form of relevant General Assembly resolutions and decisions on decolonization, and its plan of action already exists. Lack of implementation remains the principal impediment, and challenge.

Uniform, comprehensive and non-selective implementation of UN resolutions, both of the General Assembly and the Security Council, should be our focus. Selective implementation erodes confidence in the system and undermines the credibility of the organization. It also fuels and deepens conflicts and compounds the suffering of people.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan attaches the highest importance to the universal goal of decolonization. We firmly believe in the right to self-determination as one of the fundamental human rights of all peoples. It is unfortunate and anachronistic that even in the 21st century we have territories under the yoke of colonial and foreign occupation.

The decolonization agenda of the United Nations will remain incomplete without resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, among the oldest items on the UNís agenda.

For over six decades UN Security Council resolutions promising a plebiscite under UN auspices to allow the Kashmiri people to determine their destiny, have not been implemented.

This is the most persistent failure of the United Nations.

Generation after generation of Kashmiris has only seen broken promises and brutal oppression.

Today the Kashmiri people have risen again in unison against occupation. The ongoing indigenous uprising is a consequence of the denial of their right to self-determination. This has been met once more with characteristic Indian brutality. During the past two and a half months, over a hundred innocent Kashmiris have been killed, hundreds blinded and thousands injured by Indian bullets and pellets. This is the worst form of state terrorism, a war crime, which India has perpetrated by its illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir for decades.

Mr. Chairman,

Contrary to Indian claims, a travesty of history and legality, Jammu and Kashmir never was and can never be an integral part of India. It is disputed territory, the final status of which has yet to be determined in accordance with several resolutions of the UN Security Council. The right of the Kashmiri people to self-determination has been acknowledged and promised to them by the Security Council.

Mr. Chairman,

Similarly, in the Middle East, the tragedy of Palestine has intensified. The continued denial of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people is the core underlying cause of conflict and a grave impediment to lasting peace. Continuation of the illegal policy of settlement construction is fast eroding the future state of Palestine from within. Pakistan continues to support the just struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom. A strong and viable state of Palestine is the only guarantor of peace in the region.

Mr. Chairman,

The United Nations has a moral responsibility towards people suffering under colonial domination and foreign occupation. There is an urgent need to bring the work on this unfinished agenda to closure and eliminate the last remaining vestiges of colonialism. We hope that we will be able to achieve this shared goal sooner rather than later.

Thank you