Pakistan highlighted the struggle of peoples in occupied Palestine and Kashmir for their right to self-determination at an event organized by Russia, South Africa and Vietnam on Friday to mark the 60th anniversary of the landmark UN Declaration on Decolonization.
The commemorative meeting, held on the sidelines of the 75th session of UN General Assembly, was attended by nearly 100 member states.
Adopted by the General Assembly on December 14, 1960, the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, called for the immediate cessation of “all armed action or repressive measures of all kinds directed against dependent peoples” to enable them to exercise peacefully and freely their freedom of choice.
“Today, this declaration has become an epitome of freedom struggle from colonial oppression, alien domination and foreign occupation,” Aamir Khan, deputy permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, told the meeting.
But sixty years on, he said millions of people in the “non-governing territories” and under occupation in Palestine, Kashmir as well as other situations continue to yearn for their inalienable right to self-determination.
“The ongoing oppression of Kashmiris for the last seven decades. especially since 5 August 2019, is regrettable, illegal and in violation of the UN Charter, Security Council resolutions and international law,” Aamir Khan said, noting that the UN and its various bodies had frequently denounced these measures and policies.
“The use of brute force – including naked military force, demographic changes amounting to genocide, extra judicial killings, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, curfews and lockdowns, communications and economic blackouts and illegal settlements — are outlawed under international law, and are in violations of human rights and other related laws,” the Pakistani delegate said.
“Another concern is using the canard of portraying the legitimate freedom struggles as ‘terrorism’,” he said.
“The misuse of counter-terrorism laws is most rampant today in situations of foreign occupation and alien domination, including by discretionary legal tools to deny the right of self-determination through imposition of digital and physical lockdowns and indefinite curfews.”
Pakistan, he said, had always remained a staunch supporter of decolonization, and played a leading role in helping many countries in Africa and Asia to secure independence from their colonial occupiers. “We also continue to promote the universal realization for the right of self-determination of all peoples living under alien domination and foreign occupation,” pointing to Wednesday’s resolution adopted by the 193-member Assembly.