Pakistan re-elected to UN rights body with overwhelming majority

Published October 14, 2020
Member state flags fly outside the United Nations headquarters during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly. — AP/File
Member state flags fly outside the United Nations headquarters during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly. — AP/File

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan was re-elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) on Tuesday with an overwhelming majority, securing 169 votes in the 193-member UN General Assembly.

Among the five candidates from the Asia-Pacific region vying for four seats, Pakistan secured the highest number of votes.

Pakistan has been serving on the HRC since January 2018. With Tuesday’s re-election, Pakistan will continue as a member for another three-year term commencing on Jan 1, 2021. Since the HRC’s establishment in 2006, this is the fifth time that Pakistan has been elected to the UN’s premier body on human rights.

“The international community has once again reposed confidence in Pakistan, recognising our contribution to the national and global human rights agenda and strong credentials as a consensus builder in the HRC,” said a statement issued by Pakistan’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York.

“Pakistan remains firmly committed to upholding, promoting and safeguarding human rights and fundamental freedoms for all,” it added.

Diplomatic sources say that Pakistan will sustain its efforts towards ensuring that the HRC’s work is guided by the principles of universality, impartiality, dialogue and cooperation.

“In line with Pakistan’s commitment, we will prioritise advancement of tolerance, respect and constructive engagement in the HRC,” the Pakistani mission said.

The HRC has been a prominent forum for discussing the gross and systematic human rights abuses being perpetrated in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

Inside the UN, Pakistan continues to highlight the human rights violations that Indian occupation forces have been committing in IIOJK with impunity. Those violations have been extensively documented in various reports of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the independent Special Procedure Mandate Holders.

“Pakistan will remain actively engaged with the council as well as its related processes to continue to highlight the plight of Kashmiris and other oppressed people all over the world,” the Pakistani mission said.

The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body based in Geneva within the United Nations system and is responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe. It comprises 47 states and discusses all thematic human rights issues and specific situations requiring attention, such as those in IIOJK.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2020

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