UNSC voices concern over HR situation in IIOJK

Council convened its meeting on Kashmir within 72-hour of Pakistan’s request, says FM Qureshi

Kamran Yousaf August 06, 2020
The UNSC took up the issue on the first anniversary of India's illegal annexation of longstanding Kashmir dispute. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE


The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Wednesday expressed concerns over the human rights situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), particularly Indian authorities’ continued oppression as well as attempts to change its demography.

The 15-member Council met to discuss the current Kashmir situation on the request of Pakistan. China, which is a permanent member of the UNSC, played key role in arranging the closed-door discussions for the third time in a year after India revoked the special status of the disputed territory.

The UNSC took up the issue on the first anniversary of India’s illegal annexation of the IIOJK. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters after the meeting that the UNSC convened its meeting on Kashmir within 72-hour of Pakistan’s request.

Qureshi wrote a letter to the president of the UNSC, requesting him for a meeting on Kashmir. Indonesia is the current president of the UNSC and hence Foreign Minister Qureshi spoke to his Indonesian counterpart ahead of the Security Council session.

The session was held behind closed doors but Qureshi said the members described the overall security situation as tense. The UN Secretariat and the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (Unmogip) representatives also briefed the Council on the current situation in IIOJK, the foreign minister said.

“Human rights concerns were expressed, particularly with regards to India’s continued oppression in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, as well as attempts to change its demography. The need to strengthen Unmogip, which is facing challenges, especially due to non-cooperation by India, was also underscored,” Qureshi added.

Qureshi said 14 out of 15 members of the Council took part in the discussion. He said the council members agreed that parties should not take steps that might escalate the situation. They also underscored the need for resolving the issue through bilateral talks, according to Qureshi.

He, however, pointed out that it was India that took unilateral action and resorted to measures that threatened peace and security of the region. Pakistan, he added, was not shying away from talks but it was India which abandoned the path of dialogue.

He said Wednesday’s meeting of the Security Council was a part of a series of steps that the government had taken, under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, to address the fast deteriorating security, economic and social conditions of the people of the IIOJK, especially in the aftermath of the India’s unilateral and illegal actions of August 5, 2019.

“It is my profound honour to share with you that today, at Pakistan’s request; the UN Security Council discussed the situation in Jammu and Kashmir for the third time in a year,” he said in a late-night news conference.

“We are grateful to all the members of the UN Security Council, especially China, for their support in organising the meeting. There is no doubt that India took desperate attempts to prevent this discussion and when this could not be prevented, then Indians have gone to the absurd length to minimise the importance and significance of the meeting,” he added.

“As such the reality is that India failed to convince the Council that Jammu and Kashmir is a ‘bilateral issue’ – a mantra that its ideological and expansionist-driven leadership can no longer hide behind the so called ‘Shining India’.”

He said the meeting was held on August 5, the day Pakistan was marking the Youm-e-Istehsal (Day of Siege) of India’s illegal measures in the IIOJK, signifies the fact that Jammu and Kashmir was an international dispute firmly on the agenda of the Security Council and has nullified, yet another time, the India’s self-serving claim that it was an ‘internal matter’.

The convening of the Security Council meeting within 72 hours of Pakistan’s request had reaffirmed the validity of its resolutions that the final disposition of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute would be made through a free and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations, he said.

“I would like to remind India that through its sophistry and obfuscation, it cannot create a smokescreen for unilateral and illegal actions in IIOJK taken since August 5, 2019.”

in his letter to the UNSC president, the foreign minister had apprised the Council of the serious threat to international peace and security, resulting from Indian belligerent posturing against Pakistan; its gross and systematic human rights violations in IIOJK; and its introduction of a series of new ‘domicile rules’ to open up gates for ‘demographic flooding’ in IIOJK.

“Along with my letter, Pakistan also circulated two comprehensive papers on the legal aspects of the dispute and the egregious human rights violations in IIJOK, as official documents of the Security Council, Qureshi said.

“Our fears have come true. India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019 were aimed at altering the demography of IIOJK, in violation of several UN Security Council resolutions and international law, in particular 4th Geneva Convention.”

Qureshi said the current military siege of IIOJK by the Indian occupation forces and its belligerent posturing against Pakistan had resulted in increased number of ceasefire violations across the Line of Control (LoC), which posed a serious threat to peace and security in South Asia and beyond.

“Led by ‘Hindutva’ ideology, RSS-BJP accolades are resorting to warmongering attitude towards all their neighbouring countries; threatening to use force; committing massive violations of human rights in IIOJK; and marginalising Muslim population, to quash freedom movement,” he added.

It was deplorable that the situation in the IIOJK remained unabated, Qureshi continued. The Indian government had imposed a curfew, while putting restrictions on freedom of movement and communications, while extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and incarcerations remained human shield for the Indian occupation forces to camouflage their heinous crimes, he said.

Qureshi expressed Pakistan’s gratitude to the Security Council for once again considering the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. He said: “We call upon India to reverse its unilateral actions of 5 August 2019; stop human rights and ceasefire violations; remove restriction on communications, movement and peaceful assembly; immediately release Kashmiri leadership; undo ‘domicile rules’ designed to change the demographic structure of the IIOJ&K; implement UN Security Council resolutions; and refrain from threat of use of force against its neighbouring countries.”

Earlier in the day, China and Turkey reiterated their principled stance over the Kashmir issue and stressed that any unilateral change in the status quo in the IIOJK was illegal and invalid, as it did not contribute to peace and stability in the region.

“Our position is consistent and clear. This issue is a dispute left over from history between Pakistan and India that is an objective fact established by the United Nations Charter, United Nations Security Council’s resolutions and bilateral agreement between Pakistan and India,” Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said during his regular briefing on Wednesday.

“Any unilateral change to the status quo (in IIOJK) was illegal and invalid,” Wang said, emphasising that the issue should be properly resolved peacefully through dialogue and consultation between the parties concerned.

Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said on Wednesday that the annulment of the article from the Indian constitution which accorded special status to IIOJK did not contribute to peace and stability in the region. Aksoy reiterated Turkey's call for dialogue to resolve the issue under the UN Charter and resolutions.


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