Pakistan urges Int’l law enforcement to address issue of missing persons, including those in IIOJK

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UNITED NATIONS, Jun 13 (APP):Pakistan has called for the strict application of international law to respond to the acute issue of missing persons in armed conflict, saying the U.N. should direct its efforts to deal with “concrete situations”, including the abduction of 13,000 boys in the wake of India’s August 2019 crackdown in occupied Kashmir.

“It is important to take action against states and actors found culpable in the phenomenon of missing persons,” Ambassador Usman Jadoon, deputy permanent representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, told an Arria-Formua meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

The Council’s Arria-Formula meeting was convened by Switzerland. The format is named after a former Venezuelan Ambassador to the UN, Diego Arriva. It is a consultation process which affords members of the Security Council the opportunity to hear persons in an informal setting.

In its concept note, the Mission of Switzerland said it called the meeting together with The Global Alliance for the Missing, a coalition of 13 member states seeking to raise awareness about the issue of missing persons and separated families and to mobilize action to address it.

“Pakistan believes that the most effective response to the issue of missing persons in armed conflict is the strict application of international law and a process of accountability,” Ambassador Jadoon said.

Pakistan, he said, has repeatedly come to the UN Security Council, General Assembly, and the Secretary General with the “concrete reality of 13,000 young Kashmiri boys” abducted by the Indian occupying force, of which a large number has disappeared.

“The cases of missing persons in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) have led to the tragic phenomenon of ‘half widows,’ referring to Kashmiri women who live in uncertainty about the fate of their husbands, sons, and brothers,” the Pakistani envoy said.

“These women are denied the basic right to know if their loved ones are alive or dead, and are deprived of the opportunity to bury and mourn them properly,” he added.

“We have had no response from any institution or personality on this specific complaint of thousands of people ‘missing’ in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” Ambassador Jadoon told the meeting.

“United Nations’ energies must be directed on these specific cases, instead of thematic discussions on missing persons – which are not very productive.

“Unless the United Nations, Human Rights Council, and other relevant bodies are willing and able to address such concrete cases of missing persons in armed conflicts, this issue cannot be addressed,” he emphasized.