UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has criticized the United Nations for not listing the two “blatant’ situations of foreign occupation, perpetrated by Israel and India, in its report on ‘Children and Armed Conflict’, calling the omission the “most visible anomaly” in the document.
Speaking in the UN Security Council, which met under U.K.’s presidency, Ambassador Munir Akram highlighted the immense suffering of children under foreign occupation. saying they suffer “horrible experiences”.
“This is, therefore the most visible anomaly in the report that the two blatant situations of foreign occupations perpetrated by Israel on one hand and by India in Jammu and Kashmir on the other, are not listed in the report and are given a free pass,” the Pakistani envoy told the 15-member Council on Wednesday.
Last year, 27,180 grave violations were committed against children caught up in war – the highest number ever verified by the UN, according to Virginia Gamba, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, who presented her latest annual report.
In his remarks, Ambassador Akram said the fact that 1 in 6 of the world’s children lives in areas affected by conflict required that more must be done to ensure their safety, welfare and prosperity.
Specifically referring to the “suppression” of the children of Jammu and Kashmir by the Indian occupation forces, he said that an entire generation of Kashmiri children has grown up in a climate of unspeakable fear, violence and repression that has further aggravated since 05 August 2019, when India unilaterally annexed the occupied and disputed territory.
“We still remember the gut-wrenching picture of a three-year-old Kashmiri boy sitting in shock on the dead body of his grandfather after he was killed by the Indian forces,” the Pakistani envoy said in an emotionally charged voice.
Ambassador Akram said an estimated 13,000 Kashmiri children and youth have been captured by India’s 900,000 occupation forces, while thousands of innocent Kashmiris, including women and children, have been killed in staged search operations to extract confessions or secure commitments not to participate in Kashmir’s struggle for self-determination
In 2022, he said, Pakistan released a dossier of 3,432 cases of war crimes, perpetrated by India’s senior officers, and urged the Special Representative to demand the release of 30,000 abducted youth.
“The Secretary-General’s latest report has rightly urged India to implement measures, including the prohibition of the use of lethal and non-lethal force on children, ending the ‘use of pellet guns’ and preventing all forms of ill-treatment of children in detention, and protection of children from sexual offences,” the Pakistani envoy said.
Pakistan, as one of the earliest signatories to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, remains fully alive to its responsibilities under the Convention, he said, adding that wide-ranging legal, policy and operational measures focusing on protection of children in security situations have been taken.
Earlier, briefing the Security Council, Ms. Gamba pointed out that government armed and security forces were the main perpetrators of the killing and maiming of children, attacks on schools and hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access.
She said that the Secretary-General’s report on this topic covers 27,800 violations against 18,890 children in 2022 — 8,630 killings or mutilations, 7,622 instances of recruitment and 3,985 abductions. Further, instead of receiving protection, child victims are punished for their circumstances. In 2022, 2,496 children were deprived of liberty for their actual or alleged association with parties to the conflict.
Also noting positive achievements, Ms. Gamba spotlighted the situation in Yemen, where the United Nations signed an action plan with the Houthis to end and prevent violence. In Iraq, the Government signed an action plan to prevent the recruitment of children by the Popular Mobilization Forces and repatriated 1,448 Iraqi children from north-east Syria.
The United Nations is also engaging with parties to the conflicts in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Ukraine and the Russian Federation, she reported. APP
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