Statement by H.E. Munir Akram Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations 75th Session of the UN General Assembly Third Committee (New York, 07 October 2020)

Madam Chair,

Let me congratulate you and other members of the Bureau on your election and assure you of Pakistan delegation’s full support.

In this intervention my delegation will focus on agenda items 70 and 71.

Madam Chair,

The right of peoples to self-determination, enshrined in Article 1 of the UN Charter, and in Common Article-II of the two International Human Rights Covenants, is the bedrock of the edifice of international relations.

Over the years, the General Assembly has adopted a series of resolutions proclaiming the centrality of the right to self-determination including resolutions 1514 (of 14 December 1960) on Decolonization and resolution 2625 (of 24 October 1970) on Friendly Relations among States.

Furthermore, the GA Resolution 2649 (1970) declared that denial of the right of self-determination of peoples under colonial occupation or alien domination is a gross violation of the UN Charter and that such peoples have the right to struggle for the realization of their right “by all available means”.

While the international community has continued to reaffirm the principle of self-determination, the free exercise of this right has been denied, so far, in certain cases, such as in Jammu and Kashmir and Palestine.

Madam Chair,

India has, by obfuscation and oppression, denied the right of self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir for seven decades. On 05 August last year, India initiated its so-called “final solution” in occupied Jammu and Kashmir by eliminating its statehood, imposing a siege and changing its demographic composition. These measures constitute flagrant violations of the UN Charter, the relevant Security Council resolutions; and international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.

During the last fourteen months, India has imprisoned all Kashmiri political leaders, illegally detained 13,000 Kashmiri youth, tortured many of them, summarily executed young boys, put down protest violently, including the use of blinding pellet guns, and imposed collective punishments demolishing and burning entire neighborhoods and villages.

Not a single Indian soldier has been punished for these crimes.

One and a half million Indian settlers have been issued domicile certificates to transform IIOJK from a Muslim majority state into a Hindu majority territory. This gross violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention may be a pre-cursor to mass atrocities and genocide.

Madam Chair,

All of this is well documented. The High Commissioner on Human Rights issued several statements since August 2019, urging India to “unlock the situation and fully restore the rights that are currently being denied” to the people of IIOJK. The joint communication by eighteen Special Mandate Holders of the Human Rights Council issued on 04 August has termed the human rights situation in IIOJK in “free fall”.

Major human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have expressed similar serious concerns about India’s human rights violations, including in occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Indian authorities have failed to respond to any of these communications. In fact, a witch hunt has been launched against those who dare to report these crimes. Last week, Amnesty International ceased work in India citing constant harassment at the hands of the government.

OIC Major States, the OIC Human Rights Commission and the Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir have called on India to halt its oppressive policies and actions and accept an international investigation.

Similar concerns have been voiced by political leaders and legislators in several countries, including the US, Canada and Europe, including the Chairperson of the European Parliament.

Appeasement of this Indian government abets impunity, begets violence and threatens regional peace and security.

The international community must demand that India halt its egregious violations of human rights of Kashmiris, accept an International Inquiry Commission and agree to implement the Security Council resolutions prescribing a plebiscite to enable the people of Jammu and Kashmir to exercise their right to self-determination.

Madam Chair,

We are witnessing global resurgence in intolerance, discrimination, racism, and violence against monitories and other vulnerable groups in many countries accompanied by extreme nationalism, xenophobia and aggression.

Prejudice, discrimination and violence against Muslims, including Islamophobia, is one of the manifestations of these extremist trends.

Islamic shrines and holy places are being destroyed; our Prophet (Peace Be upon Him) insulted; the Holy Quran burnt – often in the name of freedom of expression.

The second largest international organization, the OIC, has officially recognized 15 March, the day of the horrendous terrorist attack in New Zealand against Muslims, as the International Day of solidarity against Islamophobia.

Our Prime Minister has called on the General Assembly to declare an “International Day to Combat Islamophobia”.

My delegation looks forward to the support of all Member States for this proposal.

Madam Chair,

Pakistan has an abiding commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights at the national and international levels. In this regard, we will continue to work towards strengthening dialogue, constructive engagement, consensus-building and international cooperation at the Third Committee and in the Human Rights Council.

I thank you.