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UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has urged the advocates of the concept of “responsibility to protect,” or R2P, to apply it to safeguard the oppressed people of occupied Palestine and Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

“Apart from its abuse, the concept of R2P has also led to the criticism that some powerful states have failed to invoke R2P by showing hesitancy either in condemning the massive human rights violations committed by so-called strategic allies’ or by holding them accountable in the Security Council,” Ambassador Aamir Khan, Deputy Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, told the UN General Assembly on Monday.

Speaking in a debate on the responsibility to protect and the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, the Pakistani envoy said for more than 7 decades, India has, 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. India, he said, had deployed 900,000 troops, resorted to extra-judicial killings; forced abductions; collective punishments; and the incarceration of the entire political leadership of the All Parties Hurriyet Conference (APHC).

To this end, he said, Pakistan has circulated a dossier with the evidence of 3,432 war crimes committed by India’s officials in Jammu and Kashmir, while adding that Muslims’ persecution has become a “routine norm” for India.

On Saturday, during a visit of Indian Home Minister Amit Shah to Jammu and Kashmir, Ambassador Aamir Khan said that Indian Army personnel stormed into a Mosque in Pulwama district of south Kashmir while Muslims were offering prayers and forced Muslims to chant “Jai Shri Ram” against their will.

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, it was pointed out.

“The International community, especially the advocates of R2P concept must carefully analyze the devastating human rights situation that is transpiring in India as well as the occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir," the Pakistani envoy 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.

Aamir Khan said under the terms of R2P concept, the international community was expected to protect those in danger, but its selective application - driven by double standards and geopolitical considerations, undermines its credibility as a genuine humanitarian doctrine.

“To truly uphold the principle of accountability and protect vulnerable populations, a more nuanced and balanced approach that avoids selectivity and promotes objectivity and impartiality is necessary,” the Pakistani envoy added.

Ambassador Aamir Khan’s pointed words against Indian policies evoked a response from an Indian representative, and a Pakistani delegate immediately countered it.

Kajal Bhat, counsellor in the Indian Mission to the UN, exercising her right of reply, claimed that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India, including its territories currently under Pakistan’s “illegal occupation," and went on to accuse Islamabad of involvement in terrorism.

Rabia Ijaz, Second Secretary in the Pakistani Mission to the UN, debunked Indian claims, saying that he representative of India did not address the facts regarding its deeply troubling trajectory of human rights, and asserted that Kashmir was an internationally recognized disputed territory, not a part of India.

India has used terrorism as a State policy against its neighbours, she added.

Opening the debate, George Okoth-Obbo, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect, introduced the “Report on the responsibility to protect and the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”

He stressed that the debate is particularly evocative as countless civilians continue to be caught in situations of conflict and subject to genocide and war crimes. The responsibility to protect thus remains as imperative today as when the world resounded “never again” at the 2005 World Summit.

The report underlines that development can build the conditions for sustainable peace, he continued. In underdevelopment, however, poverty, societal inequalities, human rights abuses and conflict can be drivers of atrocity crimes.

Recalling that this annual debate is a “reminder to us not to drift from our commitment, our duty, our responsibility to protect,” he stressed: “The lives of millions depend on that responsibility being given meaning.”

In the ensuing debate, speakers deliberated on whether the responsibility to protect is a principle or a notion, with many emphasizing that it is an inherent obligation of sovereign States under international law, while others pointed to the lack of consensus on its definition and scope.


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