The Third Committee of the UN General Assembly which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural issues unanimously adopted a Pakistan sponsored resolution on November 22, reaffirming that people’s right of self-determination was fundamental to the effective guarantee and observance of other fundamental human rights. This resolution which will be presented in the General Assembly next month for its endorsement also expressed opposition to acts of foreign military intervention, aggression and occupation calling upon the states responsible for such acts to cease immediately their military intervention, occupation of foreign countries and territories as well as acts of repression. Discrimination, exploitation and maltreatment.
Pakistan has been sponsoring this resolution every year since 1981 as part of its diplomatic offensive to keep the attention of the world community focused on this inalienable right of the people to decide their own future. It is pertinent to mention that the resolution conforms to article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) which along with Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) is collectively known as International Bill of Rights.
Many nations have emerged on the map of the world in the post-colonial era due to the exercise of this right and Pakistan’s permanent ambassador to UN Maleeha Lodhi was right on the money to say, ”Pakistan’s commitment of the universal right of self determination was firm and abiding. Exercise of this right has enabled millions across the world to emerge from the yolk of colonial and foreign occupation and alien domination.” The co-relation between the right of self-determination and human rights can hardly be over-emphasised. But it is also a reality that millions of people have been stripped of their right to determine their own fate, due to either military intervention, aggression, occupation, exploitation and selective support to this inalienable right by the powers that be.
The passage of the resolution by the committee undoubtedly represents a diplomatic and moral success of Pakistan in keeping the issue in the limelight and reminding the world community and the UN of its obligation towards people around the world fighting for their right of self-determination including people of Palestine and Kashmir on which there are 23 UN resolutions recognising the right of people of Kashmir for self-determination and resolving the issue through a plebiscite.
While the US and its allies have been crying hoarse from every convenient roof-top to express concern and condemnation of human rights in countries whom they consider as their rivals, they have turned a blind eye to the human rights violations by Israel and India who are both culprits of the humanity as far as human rights situation is concerned. They do not care about human rights so far as their strategic interests are served. Their humanitarianism is subservient to their national and strategic interests around the globe. How can this world be a peaceful place, with all the nations living in harmony, when injustice and discrimination are practiced by the powerful without any scruples?
India has been committing blatant human rights violations in Kashmir. The Human Rights groups within India itself and international human right organisations like Amnesty International (AI) have been regularly documenting the situation in JK from the perspective of human rights violations by the Indian Armed Forces. According to these reports Indian security forces in Kashmir have killed nearly 94 thousand Kashmiris during the last 26 years, raped more than ten thousand women and killed more than seven thousand persons while in custody.
The AI report released last year gave a hair raising review of how the Indian Armed forces had let loose a reign of terror against the people of Kashmir with impunity under the protection of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) particularly section 7 of the Act which grants immunity to members of the security forces from prosecution for human rights violations. The Act promulgated in the backdrop of the freedom movement launched by the people of Kashmir in 1989, is the subject of scathing criticism by AI for having created an ambience of impunity for the Indian security forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir and enabling them to commit human rights violations without any fear of being tried. The AI report, as claimed by the agency, was compiled after interviews with the families of victims, police and court records, and interaction with civil society groups, lawyers and government officials. It recommended the repeal of AFSPA and turning over the cases of human rights violation and disappearances to civil courts as well as inviting the UN Special Rapporteur and the UN Working Group on Disappearances to JK with unimpeded access to the victims and witnesses.
During the current uprising in Jammu and Kashmir more than one hundred people have been killed and nearly 13,000 have been injured and maimed through the use of assault rifles, pellet guns, tear gas shells and rubber bullets. But regrettably there has been no discernible reaction to these blatant human rights violations by the US and its allies and even he UN has been noticed, allowing India to make mockery of the UN charter and international Covenants.
Nevertheless, the people of Kashmir undeterred by the Indian atrocities are continuing their struggle for freedom and the current wave of anti-India demonstrations and hoisting of Pakistani flag by the protestors are a clear indication that the Indian machinations have not been able to subdue their urge for independence and they would not relent until they are allowed to exercise their right of self-determination. India is holding JK against the will of its people and its stance on the issue has no moral and legal basis.
India has remained defiant in fulfilling its obligations under the UN resolutions. It has not even honoured its commitments under the Simla Agreement of resolving the Kashmir dispute through dialogue even after 43 years and has always used contrived excuses to sabotage the sporadic dialogues. The Modi government has also spurned the peace overtures by the PML-N government and adopted a bellicose stance towards Pakistan, which does not augur well for peace and security in the region. The international community and the UN need to look at the situation realistically and fulfill their obligations towards the people of Kashmir and save them from the oppression being committed by the Indian security forces. India also needs to understand that it was in her own interest to fulfill its obligations under the UN resolutions and join hands with Pakistan to promote peace and tranquility in the region which is imperative for nudging and accelerating the process of economic development in both the countries. A war like state is ultimately bound to disintegrate.