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Pakistan decries selective observance of international obligations

NEW YORK: At the United Nations, Pakistan has decried double standards in implementation of international obligations to protect civilians and prevent crimes against humanity.

This ‘selectivity’ has meant that egregious crimes, including killings and mass blinding claim innocent victims in Indian-occupied Kashmir, are commuted in full view of the international community, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi said while speaking in the General Assembly debate on responsibility to protect and prevent crimes against humanity.

“The tragic victims in occupied Jammu and Kashmir suffer the further indignity of living under an illegal occupation”, she declared. She also referred to the grave situation in Palestine where the failure of the international community to uphold these norms, has been what she called “most manifest and telling.”

As the killing fields of Gaza were drenched in the blood of over 130 innocent Palestinians, including countless women and children, Ms. Lodhi said, the Security Council stood as a silent bystander to the plight of the long-suffering Palestinian people.

While stressing that the notion of the responsibility to protect stands on more tenuous ground today than ever before, she said that decisions taken by the international community, have in this regard, often failed the test of the highest standards of objectivity and impartiality.

She called on the world body for implementation of consistent and uniform standards and emphasised collective responsibility to prevent these grave crimes.

Will of international community is crucial

“The will of the international community, in particular, the permanent members of the Security Council, is crucial”, she said, adding that this was particularly important to address the issues of permissibility of actions and to ensure their consistency.

This masquerade of political expediency posing as high-flowing idealism, she said, has meant that resultant actions have lacked the legal and moral legitimacy to gain wider acceptability.

The envoy said that if we are selective in our approach expressing indignation at some transgressions while choosing to willfully ignore others, any ‘norm’ will be quickly turned into mere ‘pretense’.

“Against this backdrop, calls for accountability would invariably smack of double standards and selectivity, especially when egregious crimes including killings and mass-blinding are being committed in full view of the international community,” she asserted.

‘Illegal but legitimate’

Emphasising the sanctity of the twin imperatives of legitimacy and legality for any action by the Security Council, Lodhi criticised instances where in the face of divisions within the council, unilateral actions have led to situations characterised as ‘illegal but legitimate’.

“We should neither attempt nor accept any artificial duality between the twin imperatives of legitimacy and legality”, she stressed.

She also called for renewed commitment in helping states build their capacity including through governance and judicial reforms arguing that in a world beset by growing socio-economic inequalities, situations leading to responsibility to protect, are more often than not the result of under-development and poverty.

“Long-term commitment by the international community including mobilisation of adequate resources for sustainable development and poverty eradication – as also reflected in the 2030 development agenda – is the best investment in prevention”, she added.

Ms. Lodhi concluded by remarking that what was needed is a surge in diplomacy, not war, to achieve the goal of preventing grave crimes against humanity.

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