During the United Nations 46th Human Rights Council session, the Pakistan government told the participants that India has used the Covid-19 pandemic to “supplement its tools of repression” in Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan’s human rights minister Dr. Shireen Mazari spoke about the state of human rights globally and said: “India has exploited the pandemic to accelerate the pace of its colonisation project in Kashmir.”
Over three million non-Kashmiris have been illegally granted Kashmiri citizenship, allowed permanent settlement, purchase of properties & lands, and apply for local jobs in the occupied territory, Mazari said at the UN session.
She highlighted issues of state-sponsored hatred, Islamophobia, and dehumanisation of the suppressed, saying that all three are on the rise – often in the guise of “freedom of expression” or “secularism”.
Mazari asked UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to continue with the Kashmir reporting process in the exercise of her monitoring and prevention mandate.
She called on the council to consider establishing an independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate and report human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing high commissioner Bachelet, Mazari said: “India’s credentials as a purveyor of state terrorism and violator of human rights are well-established.”
This Council must consider the Kashmir situation on its human rights merits, and not be influenced by geopolitical calculations, and bilateral economic interests vis-à-vis India, she said.
“Appeasement or inaction are no options. Doing so will only embolden the abuser. Let us not repeat mistakes of the past but rather demonstrate the courage to stand firmly on the right side of the history,” Mazari said.
She said the global human rights landscape presents a bleak picture. “Some of the leading advocates continue to prioritise political, strategic, and commercial interests over human rights values and principles. Even public calls for accountability of some of the powerful and ‘friendly’ states are conspicuously absent,” the human rights minister said.