At the United Nations Human Rights Council’s informal virtual meeting held in Geneva today, Pakistan warned against India’s brazen attempt to alter demographics of the Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) amidst Covid-19 pandemic through changes in the domicile law. Such measures, timed to benefit from international distraction caused by the global pandemic and in complete violation of UN Security Council Resolutions, would perpetuate human rights abuse of the Kashmiri people.
The unprecedented meeting of the UN Human Rights Council was convened on a digital platform as the city of Geneva is under lockdown by the Swiss Government. The meeting, chaired by the Council’s President Ambassador Elizabeth Tichy-Fisslberger of Austria, also received a briefing by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet.
Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan Permanent Representative Ambassador Khalil Hashmi stressed that instead of preventing the contagion and providing humanitarian relief to Kashmiri people, India continued to imprison thousands of Kashmiris in illegal detention and perpetuate the 9-months long digital lockdown in the IOJ&K. The PR expressed serious concerns over the fact that IOJ&K had the highest Covid-19 density area of 12 persons per one million, noting that in a single day on 8 April, over 30 new cases were recorded. He urged High Commissioner Bachelet to continue to monitor the deteriorating human rights situation in IOJK and call out unlawful attempts to change demography in the occupied territory.
Ambassador Hashmi also spotlighted hate speech and stigmatization of Muslims minorities through social media and called for holding such trolls and their promoters accountable. He urged greater responsibility by social media platforms to filter such content.
The Ambassador shared Pakistan’s national efforts to mitigate COVID-19’s health and socio-economic impacts, including relief package of US$ 8 billion for emergency medical supplies and direct cash transfers of Rs 12000 to 12 million people.
9 April 2020