We thank both the Special Rapporteur as well as the Expert mechanism on the rights of indigenous people for the presentation of their reports.
We consider that all basic human rights are inalienable, indivisible and interdependent and must be equally guaranteed for all for ensuring ‘Human Dignity’.
The constitution of Pakistan guarantees fundamental rights for all without discrimination of any sort. Comprehensive law making and their proper implementation is being carried out by state institutions both at the federal and provincial level. The vibrant civil society, independent judiciary and open media act as watch dogs for their proper implementation. Pakistan’s National History and Literary Heritage Division is working on Intangible cultural Heritage (ICH) and recently the life style of indigenous people from Kailash Valley was studied and their cultural practice called ‘Suri Jagek’ was documented. The documentation has been accepted by UNESCO for inscription in their next year’s Urgent Safeguarding List of UNESCO.
The increase in the occurrence and intensity of natural disasters like floods, droughts, wild fires, earthquakes etc due to climate change, has greatly hampered the efforts of developing countries for poverty eradication, education and health. It has direct impact on the rights of indigenous people. The importance of right to development in improving the lives of indigenous people as pointed out by the Special Rapporteur cannot be overlooked and therefore, we should be supportive of projects aimed at inclusive sustainable development in developing countries.
We consider that right to self-determination is at the heart of protection of all other human rights. We support the view of the Special Rapporteur that denial of this right leads to exploitation, marginalization, and violation of other human rights and fundamental freedoms such as land and water rights, right to life and liberty etc. Shrinking civil society space for human rights activists in the disputed territories is also of serious concern.
We would propose that the Expert mechanism my consider the ‘negative effects of denial of right to self determination on the rights of indigenous people living in internationally recognized disputed territories’ as a prospective theme for their annual study.
I thank you Mr. President.