Pakistan urges UN to keep focus on children’s plight in IIOJK

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NEW YORK, JUL 20 (DNA) — Pakistan has urged the United Nations to keep focus on children’s plight in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

Speaking in the annual debate on “Children and Armed Conflict” at United Nations,  Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Munir Akram said Indian forces are committing “horrifying crimes” against children in occupied territory. 

He said children and youth are routinely detained and subjected to torture and ill-treatment in order to elicit intelligence or extract confessions that they are associated with the Kashmiri groups struggling for the self-determination which was promised by the Security Council.

Speaking in the annual debate on “Children and Armed Conflict”, the Pakistani envoy said, “In a world still afflicted by COVID-19 by protracted and new conflicts, and by a food, fuel and finance emergency, it is evident that we must do more to protect our children and ensure their safety, welfare and prosperity.”

Earlier, Virginia Gamba, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, introducing the report of the Secretary-General, said the abuses children were subjected to over the last year were as grievous as they were many.

In his remarks, Ambassador Akram cited the Secretary-General’s report which urged the Indian Government to undertake preventive measures to protect children in IIOJK, including by ending the use of pellets and illegal detention, both in occupied Kashmir and in various prisons across India.

Since 2019 when India illegally passed legislation to annex the disputed territory, an estimated 13,000 Kashmiri children and youth have been arbitrarily captured by the 900,000 Indian occupation forces, the Pakistani envoy said, adding, “The list of such horrifying crimes is long.”

The Pakistan government, he said, released a comprehensive dossier covering accounts, corroborated by audio and video evidence, of 3,432 cases of war crimes, including against women and children, perpetrated by senior officers of the Indian occupying forces since 1989.

“We will share this evidence with the Security Council’s Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, and the SRSG (Special Representative of the Secretary-general), and urge that those responsible be held accountable”, Ambassador Akram said.

“We would also urge the Office of the SRSG to continue to closely monitor and report on the situation of children in IIOJK,” he added.

While voicing support for the Special Representative to deal with situations of children in armed conflict, the Pakistani envoy underscored its singular focus to address the conditions of children in situations of “armed conflicts”. However, he pointed out that it does not extend to consideration of violence within Member States, which is within their national jurisdictions.

“On the basis of this understanding, my delegation will further enhance our engagement with the [Special Representative of the Secretary-General] and the Security Council’s working group,” he said.

Ambassador Akram’s sharp remarks drew a response from the Indian delegate, Ashish Sharma, saying that Pakistan was misusing the forum. He claimed that the entire territories of Jammu and Kashmir were, are and will always be an integral, inalienable part of India.

The Indian delegate also called on Pakistan to stop cross-border terrorism so that Indian citizens can exercise their rights to life and liberty. Pakistan’s delegate Mohammad Rashid hit back, saying, “Kashmir is neither nor was it ever a part of India”.

In all its resolutions on this issue, he said, the Security Council has decided that the final disposition of Kashmir shall be determined by its people through a United Nations- supervised plebiscite, pointing out that India has accepted this decision and is bound to comply with it.

The maps of the United Nations all show Kashmir as disputed territory, said Rashid, a third secretary at the Pakistan mission to the UN. In Kashmir, he said the oldest United Nations peace-keeping force is deployed at present along the cease-fire line. Above all, the report which is under consideration by the Security Council itself considers Kashmir as a disputed territory.

“If India has any respect for international law and moral courage, it will end its reign of terror, withdraw its troops and let the Kashmiris freely decide their future in accordance with the Security Council resolutions,” the Pakistani delegate said.

Rashid went on to say that Pakistan possesses concrete evidence that terrorist organizations have been financed and sponsored by Indian agencies, that India has sponsored terrorism against all its neighbours and that there has been no terrorism across the line of control in Jammu and Kashmir, where the February 2021 ceasefire is holding. =DNA