Pakistan continued its efforts at the United Nations (UN) to expose India’s systematic violations of international humanitarian laws in occupied Kashmir, calling for action against New Delhi for its “politics of repression” and “utter disregard for human life”.
Speaking during a UN Security Council debate on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi said the perpetrators of horrific crimes in occupied Kashmir were not only protected by black laws but also honoured by India’s military command.
She told the 15-member world body that reports of the use of torture as an instrument of repression had been verified by the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions and Torture, and prominent human rights groups of India.
She drew the council’s attention to a recent evidence-based report that highlights the impunity afforded to Indian soldiers and cites multiple cases of brutal torture on civilians in the occupied region.
“The inaction of the [UN] council in cases of foreign aggression and occupation comes at a high human cost. It is unfortunate that we continue to see legal and moral values sacrificed at the altar of political expediency,” said Lodhi.
Describing the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their additional protocols as the bedrock of international humanitarian law, she said the spirit of the conventions was to uphold human dignity even in the midst of war and it was as important today as it was 70 years ago.
She pointed out that international humanitarian law continued to be flouted in conflict areas and women were still bearing the brunt of such atrocities all over the world.
“Whether it is plausible deniability or abuse, the grim reality is that when the beast of conflict roars, legal regimes fall silent,” said Lodhi.
“The cardinal principles of distinction and discrimination between civilians and combatants, military necessity, and proportionality, continue to be violated, and warring parties continue to operate with impunity.”
While maintaining that the goal of protecting civilians could best be achieved by preventing armed conflict, Lodhi said until that objective was achieved it was imperative to ensure implementation of international conventions on protection of civilians.
She said the UN must ensure that protection of civilians remained a priority for its peacekeeping forces. “As one of the world’s leading troop contributors to UN peacekeeping operations, Pakistan’s well-trained and professional peacekeepers have protected civilians, provided them much-needed medical care, and rebuilt communities.”
In conclusion, Lodhi urged the council to resolve emerging and longstanding disputes, including Kashmir and Palestine, by recognising and addressing their root causes.