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More than seven decades have passed since adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR),promising a world based on equality and protection of fundamental freedoms of all human beings without discrimination. Being one of the first signatories of the UDHR, Pakistan joins the international community in celebrating Human Rights Day, and reaffirming our resolve to promote the human rights agenda.

On this occasion, we also pay tribute to the visionary leaders of Pakistan, in particular Begum Shaista Ikramullah, who was one of the three non-Western women who left a strong imprint on the UDHR.

Our government is fully committed to advancing and safeguarding human rights and fundamental freedoms of all our people, in accordance with our Constitution and national laws. Mindful of our international and domestic obligations, we will continue to take institutional, legal and administrative steps to ensure the promotion and protection of all human rights. We are following a multi-pronged strategy of advancing complementary objectives of sustainable development, human rights and democracy to create an inclusive society for all our citizens without discrimination, as envisioned by the Father of the Nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

As a responsible State, Pakistan has always supported inter-cultural and inter-religious harmony and mutual understanding. We believe in constructive engagement and cooperation among all stakeholders to further the cause of human rights.

As we commemorate this day, we must remember people under occupation, facing gross human rights violations and being denied fundamental freedoms, including the right to self-determination. The people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) continue to face the worst form of brutalization and abuses by Indian occupation forces. Post-5 August, India has applied draconian measures to suppress Kashmiri voices from reaching the international community.

It is the obligation of the international community to take urgent steps to stop human rights violations and crimes against humanity in IOJ&K, urge India to implement all UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir dispute,and fulfil its own obligations related to protection of the rights of women and children.

On this day, let me reaffirm Pakistan’s unwavering diplomatic, political and moral support to the people of Occupied Jammu & Kashmir in their just struggle for human dignity, respect of all fundamental freedoms,and realization of their inalienable right to self-determination.

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