UN member states must ensure people’s fundamental rights: UNGA President

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ISLAMABAD, Jan 18 (APP):President of United Nations General Assembly Maria Fernanda Espinosa Friday, while reiterating the world
body’s mandate for international peace and security, said it was the responsibility of each member state to
respect and guarantee fundamental rights and dignity of people.
Responding to a question on grave human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, at a joint
stake out with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Maria Fernanda said; “All UN member states should
conform to three pillars of the UN Charter – security, development and human rights.”
The UNGA President made the comments when her attention was drawn to the situation in IOK that
were negating the very spirit of UN Resolutions.
Maria Fernanda said though the resolution pertained to the UN Security Council, however as UNGA
President, it was her role to “ensure the implementation of UN’s mandate and general recommendations
for international peace and security”.
Foreign Minister Qureshi to a question on the demand of Kashmiris for plebiscite, said Pakistan wanted
the United Nations to play an effective role in implementation of the UNSC Resolutions with regard to Jammu
and Kashmir, where 90,000 people had lost their lives.
He termed Kashmir as “a flashpoint that needed immediate international attention” and mentioned an
important recommendation of the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) calling for
establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the human rights violations in IOK.
Maria Fernanda, who is on her first visit to Pakistan since the advent of the government led by Prime
Minister Imran Khan, lauded Pakistan for supporting the Afghanistan peace process and said the country’s
generosity for hosting millions of Afghan refugees for four decades deserved “great acknowledgement”.
The UNGA President, who arrived here today on a five-day visit, said the refugee problem was connected
with the peace process in Afghanistan and stressed that “a prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan would benefit Pakistan and the entire region”.
She said Pakistan’s role in rehabilitation of Afghan refugees was relevant with the UN’s Global Compact of Migration or Refugees that gave a roadmap for fostering cooperation, and burden-sharing among countries of origin, transit and destination, particularly for refugees.
With Ecuador as her country of origin that faced huge number of refugees from Columbia, the UNGA President said she had great realization about the issue of refugees which required immense resources and said
Pakistan’s generosity in this regard was commendable.
The UNGA President said Pakistan was among the 10 countries that were vulnerable to climate change in
shape of floods and droughts, and required serious steps ahead.
She lauded Pakistan for its recently launched project of planting one billion trees in the country and said
“the step speaks well of the commitment of this government to environmental protection and combating the
terrible effects of climate change”.
She also appreciated the new government’s commitment in terms of providing 10 million new jobs, putting
women rights at forefront, implementing Agenda 2020 of the Sustainability Development Goals, multilateralism
and revitalization of the UN’s goals.
To a question why the UN Security Council Reforms had not been finalized even after 25 years, she said
the Inter Governmental Negotiations was a member-driven process, with its pace and content, much dependent
on the decision and political will of 193 member states.
Maria said though the issue was quiet contentious, however as UNGA President she would play her role to ensure open, transparent and inclusive consultations among the member states.
Foreign Minister Qureshi said the talks with UNGA President particularly encompassed the human rights violations in Occupied Kashmir, ceasefire violations at Line of Control by India, UN reform agenda, Afghan refugees, Pakistan’s role in UN peacekeeping and climate change.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Qureshi and UNGA President Maria Fernanda Espinosa held a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which was joined by Pakistan’s permanent ambassador to the UN Dr Maleeha Lodhi and senior diplomats.