United Nations, October 24, 2019: Pakistan
“The situation remains a blot on our collective conscience, and demands immediate corrective action,” Pakistani delegate Qasim Aziz said in speech to the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural issues.
Speaking in a debate on Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, he said that universal respect for human rights cannot be achieved when millions of people are denied their fundamental freedoms and continue to remain under the shadow of poverty, conflict, foreign occupation and violence.
Expressing concern over growing xenophobia and anti-Muslim sentiments created by extremist political parties in his region and beyond, Aziz, a second second secretary in the Pakistan mission to the UN, said nowhere are the ideals enshrined in the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights more endangered than in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, which has been suffering under a draconian lockdown.
In this regard, the Pakistani delegate called on the United Nations human rights bodies to conduct their work in an objective fashion without double standards in addressing “situations” of human rights. “It is quite unfortunate that some situations are prominently projected; while others, equally serious, are ignored,” he said.
“Country-specific or region-specific considerations should focus mainly on situations of armed conflict and specially situations of foreign occupation and denial of the right of peoples to self-determination.”
Pakistan, he said, attached great importance to the work of the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as, mandates of all Special Procedures, and welcomes constructive engagement with them based on mutually respectable and cooperative approach.
“At the same time,” Aziz said, “we would like to emphasize that Special Procedures and Mandate Holder must discharge their duties with full independence, within the given mandate, on the basis of objectivity, impartiality, transparency and strict avoidance of politicization.”
On its part, he said, Pakistan has an abiding commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights at the national and international levels. “This commitment is firmly embedded in our constitution which devotes a full chapter to the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of all.”
Moreover, the Pakistani delegate said that the country’s news media and civil society were quite vibrant, and were acting as a watchdog on government policies.
“Similarly our independent judiciary has taken wide ranging steps to guarantee protection of constitutional rights of all citizens.
“Let me reiterate that the Government of Pakistan is fully committed to the cause of an ethos and a popular culture for the promotion and protection of human rights in all spheres of life,” the Pakistani delegate added.