UNITED NATIONS, (APP): Amid the world’s focus on the crisis in Ukraine, a senior Pakistani diplomat has urged the U.N. to promote universal accountability for grave human rights violations, especially in situations of foreign occupation — Kashmir and Palestine — as he stressed that there should be no disparity between such violations in two different circumstances.
“If we want to pay attention to a particular situation which is currently in the limelight, we should also not forget the situations of Palestine and Jammu and Kashmir, where human rights are being trampled every day, and where counter-terrorism laws are used to silence civil society,” Ambassador Aamir Khan, deputy permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, said at a virtual event where the alleged rights violations in the war-hit Ukraine were highlighted by several members.
“If we are raising voice in the context of one situation, we should not forget raising our voices in other two situations as well,” he emphasized.
In this regard, the Pakistani envoy urged the international community and the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights in Geneva to make pronouncements on violations of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir and in Palestine as well, just like they are making pronouncements elsewhere– referring to Ukraine.
“Earlier today,” he said, “there was mention of global shocks (Ukraine crisis), in the context of a violation of human rights — I would like to add here that the application of human rights in the Charter should be universal and impartial.
“Just like there is no hierarchy or precedence in the context of two sets of rights, i.e. economic rights or civil/political rights, there is also no disparity between violations of human rights in two different situations,” Aamir Khan added.
The virtual event was held to mark the second anniversary of the UN Secretary-General’s Call to Action for Human Rights, and the Pakistani envoy called it an opportunity to exchange views on how to advance S.G’s Agenda for human rights more robustly, including by exploring its linkages with ‘Our Common Agenda’, which deals with what has become known as the three “Cs’ — ‘Conflict, Climate Risk, and Covid-19” — linked by some, to poverty UN Under-Secretary-General for Policy, Volkar Turk, moderated the event.
“For the universal promotion and preservation of human rights, in this regard, we need to end the politicization of human rights; follow a cooperative approach based on principles of non-discrimination and genuine dialogue; and promote the UPR (universal periodic review) as a state-led peer process, which is not exploited through partisan pressures,” Ambassador Aamir Khan said.
He also called for giving equal attention to socio-economic rights.
“The Right to Development must become a global international legally in the forcible right, especially through a legally binding international convention on Right to Development,” the Pakistani envoy said, adding that this right is even more imperative in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis and the challenge of achieving the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).
At the same time, he said that the UN should supplement the government’s efforts and give due regard to national priorities, interests, and particular circumstances of the countries concerned.
In doing so, he added, the UN should respond to the violations of human rights, focusing on upholding respect for the Charter; eliminating double standards, and promoting universal accountability for grave human rights violations, especially in situations of foreign occupation.
Noting that human rights are a cardinal principle in the UN Charter alongside development and peace and security, the Pakistani envoy said, “It is unfortunate that despite so much progress on the front of human rights, the egregious and systematic human rights violations continue unabated including in situations of foreign occupation.
“Millions of human beings continue to be victims of racism, racial discrimination, Islamophobia, xenophobia and related intolerance, including their contemporary forms, some of which manifest in violent forms.”
Against this backdrop, Aamir Khan welcomed the Secretary-General’s “Call to Action for Human Rights” and his report “Our Common Agenda”.
“We must endeavor to work together to find a common framework through consultation, coordination, and consensus,” he added.
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