Islamabad, July 10, 2018 (PPI-OT): At the UN, Pakistan forcefully raised the Kashmir issue and called for effective new ways to protect children from atrocities committed by occupation forces in Jammu and Kashmir, says a press release received here today from New York. “Children are often at the heart of conflict and are in consequence directly targeted. Their homes and schools are destroyed and food and water supplies deliberately cut off”, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi said while speaking in the Security Council debate on Children in Armed Conflict.
“Under foreign occupation, they are subjected to arbitrary arrests, detention and torture. And mass blinding too, as the use of pellet guns by occupation forces in occupied Jammu and Kashmir testifies”, she asserted. Pointing to the recent report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Situation of Human Rights in Kashmir, Ambassador Lodhi said, “there were multiple cases of children under 18 years being arbitrarily detained and tortured” under the garb of a black law, the so called Public Security Act.
The Pakistan envoy said that last year witnessed a significant increase in incidents of abuse of children worldwide, making 2017 another “nightmare year”, for children trapped in conflict. “The plight of children in Palestine, Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Myanmar and Yemen should galvanize the international community to find new and effective ways to protect those most vulnerable”, she asserted. “In conflict zones and occupied territories”, she declared, “We are witnessing a deeply troubling breakdown in humanity and diminishing respect for human life and dignity”.
Children become victims of unimaginable horror every day, Pakistan’s top diplomat said while referring to the Secretary-General’s report that confirmed these horrors: children are killed and maimed, abducted to fight, sexually abused and denied humanitarian aid. The goal of protection of children, she said, can best be achieved by preventing the outbreak of armed conflict in the first place. “The most effective way to protect children is by preventing and resolving conflicts, ending foreign occupation and sustaining peace. This must be our top priority and that of this Council”, she stressed.
Ambassador Lodhi told the 15-member Council that Pakistan remains fully alive to its commitments with regard to protecting children. Pakistan, she said, was one of the earliest signatories to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two Optional Protocols. “We have established a National Commission for Child Welfare and Development (NCCWD) which coordinates monitors and facilitates its implementation. Last year, we also established the National Commission on the Rights of Children”, she added.
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