We thank High Commissioner Michele Bachelet for her report and the oral update. We welcome her leadership of the OHCHR. She has rightly drawn our attention to the continuing conflicts and crises across the global and the need to work towards permanent solution of such conflicts, thereby easing human rights and humanitarian challenges.
The High Commissioner rightly stated yesterday that the people of Jammu and Kashmir have exactly the same rights to justice and dignity as people all over the world. Pakistan also shares the High Commissioner’s anguish that OHCHR’s Kashmir Report (quote) “has not been followed up with meaningful improvements or even open and serious discussions on how the grave issues raised could be addressed” (Unquote).
Pakistan has acknowledged the importance of OHCHR Report in documenting excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests, detentions and disappearances, cases of mass graves and continued sexual violence, as part of overall impunity enjoyed by Indian security forces in Kashmir. Since this June when the Report was published, plight of Kashmiri civilians in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) has only worsened. Around 60 civilians have been killed with scores of them injured or rendered missing by India forces since this Council last met. The use of pellet guns continues to blind and deface civilian protestors.
Pakistan endorses High Commissioner Bachelet’s call for urgent implementation of the recommendations of the OHCHR report. In this regard, Pakistan welcomes the Report’s proposal to establish a ‘Commission of Inquiry’ for international investigation into human rights violations in IOK. Pakistan is willing to allow any UN team to visit Azad Kashmir as long as it is able to visit the IOK. In that sense, Pakistan’s stance on the question of “access” by the UN is unconditional as long as India offers similar access to the Territory it occupies. We have nothing to hide as people of Kashmir always wanted to join Pakistan. Pakistan, therefore, has never shied away from implementing numerous Security Council Resolutions that call for a free and impartial plebiscite in Kashmir under the UN auspices to determine the region’s future. India constantly blocks implementation of these resolutions as it knows it would lose in any free and democratic vote in Kashmir.
The United Nations has a key role to play in the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The UN Security Council is seized of its numerous resolutions as the dispute remains on its agenda. The OHCHR report is a reminder to the Human Rights Council of this internationally recognized dispute and the urgency of its settlement both to protect human lives and promote peace.