Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, at the Fourth Committee under Agenda Item Decolonization (11 October 2019)

Mr. Chairman,

Let me begin by congratulating you and members of the Bureau on your election.

We also thank the Chairman of the Special Committee on Decolonization, for her opening statement earlier this week, and its Rapporteur, for introducing the Committee’s report.

In pursuing the decolonization agenda for a more just and peaceful world, Pakistan values the role and contribution of the Special Committee.

We also appreciate the special committee’s efforts towards inclusivity and better communication between stakeholders.

Mr. Chairman,

The UN Charter is not only an instrument of security against the horrors of war. It is also a source of hope against the privations of injustice and oppression, an expression of hope to countless millions still struggling against the yolk of colonialism and foreign domination, across the world.

It was in this spirit that the General Assembly articulated the aspirations of the people in its historic ‘Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples’ contained in Resolution 1514 of 1960. It declared: “the subjection of people to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental rights, is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and is an impediment to the promotion of world peace and cooperation”.

In addition, the preambular part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stressed the inalienable rights of the human family, as well as their dignity, as the basis for freedom, justice, and peace in the world.

Mr. Chairman,

We are approaching the conclusion of the ‘Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism’. Yet, there are still territories under the yoke of colonialism and foreign occupation. The persistence of this reality is a travesty of the universal principle of political and economic freedom of all peoples. Nothing justifies this.

The General Assembly has also consistently reaffirmed that colonialism in any form or manifestation is incompatible with the UN Charter, Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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.

Negation of the right to self-determination, Chair, generates anger and discontent, ignites conflicts and threatens peace and security.

Sadly, South Asia and the Middle East have witnessed and experienced this for decades.

Mr. Chairman,

The UN’s decolonization agenda will remain incomplete without the just resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

For over 70 years, the people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir have been denied the right of self-determination which is enshrined in 11 UN Security Council Resolutions.

It is deplorable that rather than comply with these Resolutions and ensure that the people of the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir exercise their right to self-determination, India has subjected them to brutal suppression for decades.

Worse, on 5th August 2019 India illegally annexed the disputed territory and turned occupied Jammu and Kashmir into the world’s largest armed prison as thousands of additional troops were moved into the area, already the world’s most militarized zone.

This action was in flagrant violation of Security Council resolutions and what has followed is a human rights crisis on an untold scale and a humanitarian crisis that has brought epic suffering to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

There are scores of chilling reports about widespread torture and arbitrary arrests; of thousands including young children being abducted from their homes in night raids, without any trace; of food supplies running out, of hospitals running short of critical supplies and being turned into graveyard; of children left to die for lack of medical attention.

Mr. Chairman,

Among the oldest issues on the UN agenda, the Kashmir dispute serves as an ignominious face to a cruel occupation that has already lasted a lifetime.

The time has come to deliver on the solemn commitment that the UN Security Council, through its several resolutions, made to the Kashmiri people for their right to self-determination. The resolution of the Kashmir dispute is integral to the decolonization agenda.

It is time to put a stop to the pervading sense of cynicism, born of perceived selectivity and bias in the work of this organization.

After all, unilateral actions in gross violation of Council resolutions, not only threaten the very foundations of the rules-based international order, but also erode the credibility and legitimacy of the UN.

Mr. Chairman,

On our part, Pakistan will continue to be the voice of the Kashmiris in all international forums until justice is done and they are able to exercise their right to self-determination in accordance with Security Council Resolutions.

This is both an imperative of justice as well as peace as well as a means to achieve the de-colonization agenda of the UN.

I thank you.