NEW YORK: Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations (UN) Maleeha Lodhi remarked on Tuesday the envoys of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) expressed solidarity with people of Kashmir (IoK).
Speaking at a meeting organized at the UN headquarters by the Pakistani ambassador, Ladhi said the current state of human rights in Kashmir has been brought into fresh spotlight by the June 14 June report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ziad Ra’ad Al-Hussein.
“This is the first ever UN human rights report on the grim situation in the occupied territory and covers the period between June 2016 and April 2018,” she said.
She added that the secretary general of the UN Antonio Guterres endorsed the report on July 12 saying that the ‘action’ of the High Commissioner represents the ‘voice’ of the UN on the issue.
The Pakistani ambassador added that while the findings of the report are neither new nor surprising, “they speak of a litany of systematic violations of the fundamental human rights of the Kashmiri people.”
Lodhi highlighted the key aspects of the report, especially the impunity with which human rights are being violated and the lack of access to justice.
She also pointed to the report’s mention of special laws in force including the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the Public Safety Act (PSA), saying they have created ‘structures’ that “obstruct the normal course of law, impede accountability and jeopardising the right to remedy for victims of human rights violations”.
The Pakistani ambassador also noted the report mentioned the excessive force by the Indian forces and their failure to adhere to applicable national and international standards on the use of force.
She added, one of the most lethal weapons used against innocent protesters was the pellet-firing shot-gun, which had led to the first mass blinding in human history.
The Pakistani ambassador further said that after the UN resolution on Kashmir, this report was the first substantial document from the UN that lends support to the Kashmiri cause.
The envoy further added the report acknowledged the long-standing demand of Pakistan, that an independent inquiry should be held on human rights violations in Kashmir.
Lodhi assured the Kashmiri representatives that Pakistan’s mission would continue to project the Kashmir issue at all available forums at the UN.
The meeting was attended by ambassadors and the Deputy Permanent Representatives of Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Niger, Turkey, Iran, Algeria, Somalia, Sudan and the representative of the OIC to the UN.