UNITED NATIONS, Jan 25 (APP):Pakistan has urged those who propagate the concept of responsibility to protect, or R2P, to reflect on the need for collective action to protect the people of occupied Palestine and of Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
“For more than 7 decades, India has, through force and fraud, denied the right of self-determination to the Kashmiri people, in violation of multiple resolutions of the Security Council prescribing a free and fair plebiscite,” Ambassador Aamir Khan, deputy permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, told a special meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on ‘Social and economic measures to prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity”.
The Pakistani envoy also drew international community’s attention to the “systematic campaign” under way in India by the adherents of Hindutva where Muslims are murdered by lynch mobs, subjected to periodic pogroms and robbed of their livelihoods and citizenship, under the patronage and with the encouragement of the ruling BJP-RSS Government.
Most recently, he said, a BBC documentary has also examined the pogrom against Muslims during the riots in the western state of Gujarat in 2002, noting that the documentary, which was banned in India, underlined that the campaign had “all the hallmarks of an ethnic cleansing.”
Noticing this dangerous trend, Professor Gregory Stanton, the founder of Genocide Watch, has warned that a genocide of Muslims could very well happen in India.
“Such crimes fall squarely within the ambit of the World Summit’s decisions on the responsibility to protect,” Ambassador Aamir Khan said.
(The concept of R2P rests upon three pillars: the responsibility of each State to protect its populations; the responsibility of the international community to assist States in protecting their populations; and the responsibility of the international community to protect when a State is manifestly failing to protect its populations.)
“One specific circumstance where provisions of the principle of protection should apply is in situations of foreign occupation or alien domination, which can easily spiral into genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity,” the Pakistani envoy said.
“We would request the views of those who propagate the R2P concept on the need for collective action to protect the people of occupied Palestine or of Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” Aamir Khan added.
In conclusion, he said Pakistan looks forward to further discussion on the application of the R2P concept, adding that any collective action must be authorized by the Security Council.
In her opening remarks, ECOSOC President Lachezara Stoeva highlighted how the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, together with global commitment on the responsibility to protect, underscore the need to uphold the dignity and worth of every person on the planet.
Ms. Stoeva said protecting fundamental freedoms and human rights, including socio-economic rights, underpins the 2030 Agenda, and is critical both to address the root causes of conflict and to make communities more inclusive and resilient.
However, she warned that promises were not enough in the face of current global challenges, which are undermining progress towards achieving sustainable development and reversing gains made.
“These challenges require reinvigorated multilateralism and a stronger United Nations. It requires us to engage with all stakeholders, including young people and women, to promote social progress, better living standards and human rights for all,” she said.
The President of the UN General Assembly, Csaba Korosi, spelt out that Genocide refers to acts aimed at destroying a national, ethnic, racial or religious group and “sad experience” has shown that it is a gradual process.
Hate speech, dehumanization of groups as “others”, and recurrent violations of their rights are precursors to mass atrocities, he added.
“Like a weed, genocide has roots in discrimination and artificially aggregated ethnic, religious or social differences. The seedling of genocide breaks through when the rule of law breaks down,” Korosi said.
Preventing genocide requires pulling out its roots, he added, as well as protecting at-risk communities, including minorities and especially women and girls.