Statement by Sardar Ayaz Sadiq Hon. Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan 135th General Assembly of the Inter Parliamentary Union Assembly October 24, 2016

Mr. President,

Mr. Secretary General,

Distinguished Parliamentarians, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my honour to address fellow parliamentarians from around the world, who represent the democratic will and aspirations of their people.

The topic chosen for this year's General Assembly, is of critical importance. Gross violations of Human Rights are occurring in every part of the world. Ominously, situations of human rights violations are spiraling into outright conflict within and between countries.

Mr. President,

We, as parliamentarians, have an obligation to ensure that the cycle of human rights violations and conflicts is broken. How do we do that?

Most importantly, we need to ensure delivery of the fundamental rights of people, as enshrined in every democratic country's constitution. If parliaments fail in this primary task then outright violations of rights are inevitable and conflicts become unavoidable.

Mr. President,

The Parliament of Pakistan is actively engaged in further strengthening the rights regime in our country. The creation of an independent National Commission on the Status of Women and a National Commission on Human Rights through Acts of Parliament are major achievements.

Over past ten years, the parliament has enacted around two dozen Bills, to safeguard the rightsof women and children.

The presence of an all-parties Women's Parliamentary Caucus, consisting of 87 women parliamentarians, has ensured a balancedgender perspective in the legislative work of the parliament.

However, legislation alone cannot prevent violations of rights if society at large is not made aware of the protection offered by laws and if the laws are not effectively enforced.

Accordingly, we have established a comprehensive Human Rights Action Plan that focuses on access to justice, strengthening human rights institutions, human rights education, and implementation of UN Treaties and Conventions.

An array of specific measures has been taken to operationalize this plan. These measures include the launching of a dedicated, free-of-cost helpline for legal advice on human rights violations, and the establishment of funds to provide financial relief to victims of human rights violations.

At the international level Pakistan has ratified seven core international human right treaties. We are also fully engaged in various human rights fora in developing, monitoring and implementing international human rights norms. This reflects Pakistan's commitment to international human rights standards.

Distinguished Parliamentarians.

A basic truth bears repetition. Peace cannot prevail without addressing the discrimination and violence too often unleashed against people demanding their just and natural rights.

In our part of the world, peace is imperiled by the violence unleashed against the people of Indian Occupied State of Jammu & Kashmir. The people of Occupied Kashmir have been under general curfew. Since July this year, more than 150 people have been killed in cold blood by the Indian occupation forces. The indiscriminate and reprehensible use of pellet guns on unarmed protestor has left over 800 blinded. And the people of Kashmir have been placed under a general curfew for more than a hundred day.

The entire leadership of the Kashmiri people is incarcerated under inhumane conditions. A prominent Kashmiri leader, Mr. Yasin Malik, is in a critical condition. The only crime of the Kashmiri is their just and consistent demand for their right to self-determination, which is enshrined in a number of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions. India remains in continued violation of these resolutions which unequivocally call for the holding a plebiscite under UN auspices to ascertain the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

The UN Human Rights Commissioner has expressed grave concern over the human rights situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir. He has twice called for sending a fact finding mission to Indian Occupied Kashmir only to be rebuffed by an intransigent Indian government.

The member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, OIC's Independent Human Rights Commission and the ParliamentaryUnion of Islamic countries have also forthrightly condemned Indian atrocities and called for sending a fact finding mission to IOK. Again, these calls have been willfully ignored by India.

Mr. President,

The people in Indian Occupied Kashmir look to this forum to help end the repression and violence that they continue to face. It is imperative that we do not fail them.

It is our duty as representatives of peoples to condemn gross human rights violations and agree upon tangible measures to urgently stop violations by the perpetrators. This holds specially true when powerful state authorities engage in violations of human rights and repress people demanding their fundamental rights, as is happening so tragically in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

I thank you.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Government of Pakistan