Message by the Foreign Minister on Human Rights Day (10 December 2021)
On Human Rights Day, Pakistan joins the international community in celebrating the 73rd anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights(UDHR). The Declaration continues to be a beacon of light and a moral compass for States, societies and communities to promote and protect rights, freedoms, and dignity of every human being, without any distinction.
The annual commemoration of this Day also signifies the progress achieved in realizing the universally shared ideals of equality, non-discrimination, justice, tolerance, peace and development. Yet, this Day is also a reminder of the need to both preserve these gains and to redouble efforts in empowering those whose rights remain unrealized, whose freedoms and dignity remain under attack and those who have been left behind.
Pakistan welcomes the theme of this year’s International Day, “Equality - Reducing inequalities, advancing human rights”.
Pakistan’s progress over the last seven decades in the realization of human rights agenda for its citizens is well established. Being a parliamentary democracy, with the necessary legal and administrative structures, free media and vibrant civil society, Pakistan is fully committed to the promotion and protection of all human rights.
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the systemic and structural inequalities within and amongst countries. Some of the stark inequalities are evident in the global economic and financial architecture, resulting in asymmetric economic recovery, growing debt burden and COVID vaccine divide.
Such inequalities are accompanied by the emergence of new forms of discrimination, hate and intolerance, often enabled by a dangerous nexus between hyper-nationalism and exclusivist ideologies. Islamophobia has surfaced as a serious contemporary challenge affecting inter-faith harmony and peace around the world.
On this Day, Pakistan calls for collaborative and coordinated global responses to address the drivers and impacts of structural and systemic inequalities, as a means to advance human rights, including the realization of the right to development. Pakistan also underlines the importance of promoting a culture of peace, tolerance and an end to discrimination, hate and intolerance based on religion or belief.
Realization of the shared ideals of UDHR i.e. equality of rights and dignity of all human beings necessitates equality and objectivity towards human rights issues by the global community. Pakistan underscores the immutability of the inalienable right to self-determination, a right enshrined in the UN Charter and UDHR, for people under alien or foreign occupation.
India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019,designed to alter the demographic structure of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), in violation of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, are aimed at disenfranchising the Kashmiris from exercising their right to self-determination. These actions have further aggravated the scale of oppression and suppression of Kashmiri people’s basic rights, identity and fundamental freedoms. The grave human rights violations and crimes against humanity committed against Kashmiris in IIOJK by the Indian occupation forces have been documented in detail by the UN Human Rights machinery especially the two Reports of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), numerous press statements and communications of UN Special Procedure Mandate Holders, as well as plethora of investigative reports of international civil society and media.
Pakistan reiterates its call for ending egregious human rights abuses in IIOJK. It also reaffirms its resolve to extend all possible support to the Kashmiri people in their just struggle against India’s tyranny, occupation and oppression.
Pakistan reiterates its determination to further advance respect for and protect the rights and freedoms of all its citizens, in line with stipulations of its Constitution, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
10 December 2021