WASHINGTON: Foreign occupation creates a breeding ground for violence perpetrated by occupying forces against women and girls, said Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations.
Speaking at the Security Council debate on “Sexual Violence in Conflict” on Friday, Ambassador Lodhi said that by leaving unaddressed protracted disputes such as Kashmir and Palestine, the world body “ran the risk of acting selectively and displaying a blind spot for some of the most vulnerable women suffering disproportionately from violence”.
At the 52nd United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Professor William Baker, also a human-rights activist, argued that rape in Kashmir was not merely a case of isolated incidents involving undisciplined soldiers, rather Indian security forces were actively deploying rape on Kashmiri populace as a method of humiliation and invoking fear.
An Amnesty International report stated that rape is conducted during counter-offensives against militants as part of a bid to methodically shame local Kashmiri communities.
Ambassador Lodhi said women, especially young girls, continued to carry the main brunt of physical and psychological abuse and trauma.
She said occupying forces and aggressors were using sexual violence as a broader strategy for repression, domination and subjugation of defenceless and vulnerable communities.
“From Myanmar to my country’s neighbourhood, the world continues to watch in horror as rape and sexual abuse is employed with impunity as a deliberate means to oppress entire populations to humiliate and terrorise them,” she said.
The Pakistani envoy stressed that the legal and normative framework to fight conflict-based sexual violence should be supplemented by a stronger commitment by the international community to fight such horrible crimes.
“Our fight against impunity for conflict-related sexual violence must continue with greater commitment to hold aggressors to account, and to never allow political or geopolitical interests to constrain or compromise our efforts,” she added.
Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2019