By Muhammad Sohail
Pakistan has urged the international community to take cognizance of the sexual crimes against the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and hold the perpetrators of these condemnable acts accountable through various mechanisms including sanctions against offenders of these grave crimes.
In a message on the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict on Sunday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said rape is employed as a tool of suppression and means of collective punishment in IIOJK. The women, girls and children of IIOJK have witnessed the most egregious forms of sexual violence of recent times.
He said the Indian state machinery has perpetrated sexual violence with full impunity to silence, subjugate and stifle the people of IIOJK and stop them from demanding their legitimate right to self-determination, pledged in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
Foreign Office Spokesperson said the horrendous mass rape of Kashmiri women in Kunan Poshpura villages of IIOJK on 23 February 1991 continues to haunt the victims who still await justice.
He said, since 5 August 2019, sexual violence against all genders including children has drastically increased in IIOJK.
He said the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in its two Kashmir reports, the UN Special Procedure Mandate Holders (SPMHs) in their joint communications, the international civil society and media in their publications have expressed serious concerns on the widespread sexual violence being committed by the Indian occupation forces with full impunity in IIOJK and have inter alia demanded investigations by a UN Commission of Inquiry.
He said all international calls for prosecution of perpetrators have been blatantly rejected by India and there remains a pervasive culture of impunity through connivance between the Indian state machinery, judiciary and the media.
He said India must be urged to respect its international obligations, especially those related to the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, 4th Geneva Convention and its Additional Protocol 1.
Asim Iftikhar said Pakistan will continue to raise its voice in favour of the oppressed and these victims of sexual violence.
Foreign Office Spokesperson said it is incumbent upon the international community to rise above geo-political and economic interests and show its commitment to the UN Charter and international law in providing protection to the victims and in holding the perpetrators of sexual violence accountable.