Let me start by congratulating you, the Bureau, and the Secretariat for smooth and efficient handling of the 41st Session. Pakistan will continue to assist your efforts with our objective, holistic, non-politicised and inclusive approach to address human rights situations and issues.
- As this Council and broader human rights machinery is aware, OHCHR Kashmir Report 2019 was published in the latter half of this session. Pakistan has welcomed this report and appreciate the efforts of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to continue monitoring and reporting on the grave human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir, in face of threats and attacks from certain quarters. Considering that the OHCHR is the prime human rights defender of the world, its efforts for the protection of human life and fundamental freedoms of Kashmiris, should be supported by all. ON our part, Pakistan will continue its cooperation and engagement with the OHCHR on it reporting obligations on Jammu and Kashmir.
- The report recommends establishment of Commission of Inquiry as well as upholding right to self determination for the Kashmiris, consistent with Pakistan’s repeated calls. It also reaffirms UN legal position on the Kashmir dispute that its final disposition will be done through free and fair plebiscite, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions. Accordingly, the argument of State sovereignty is not legally or politically tenable.
- At the 41st HRC Session, a number of civil society organizations joined the OHCHR in expressing serious concerns on the scale and magnitude of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir. The situation also warrants special attention of the Council, Special Procedure Mandate Holders, civil society, media and broader human rights machinery.
- Due to the late release of the report, in depth discussion could not take place on the human rights concerns raised in the report including extrajudicial killings, torture, sexual violence, arbitrary arrest and detention, mass graves, blinding and deaths by the use of pellet guns, excessive use of force, attacks on journalists and press freedom, restrictions on peaceful assembly and cordon and search operations in Jammu and Kashmir. We look forward to a substantive and detailed discussion on Kashmir Report 2019 at the 42nd HRC Session.
- Our collective conscience cannot and should not close any chapter of human rights violations. The voice of the oppressed and suppressed must resonate in this hall, to give them hope that they are not alone and the international community cares. The success of the Council lies in protecting the people who cannot protect themselves.
I thankyou Mr. President.