Pakistan Tuesday put the spotlight on the plight of Kashmiri women under brutal Indian occupation during a United Nations Security Council debate on women’s rights, and urged the world body not to overlook their desperate situation.
Addressing the Security Council, Ambassador Munir Akram noted the references made to the plight of women and girls affected by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine as also for the protection of females’ rights in post-conflict Afghanistan, but regretted that the continuing violence against women in occupied Kashmir gets much less attention during the 15-member body’s debates.
The Pakistani envoy stressed the need for addressing in “a holistic, effective and non-discriminatory manner” the challenges in numerous situations of conflict where women and girls are endangered, and their fundamental rights violated.
In this regard, Ambassador Akram said, “Less visible in the Council’s debates is the ongoing violence against women and girls in occupied Jammu and Kashmir where there is documented evidence of rape and sexual violence being used as a weapon of war against thousands of women and girls.”
Read more: The Russell Tribunal on Kashmiri women
Their plight, he said, should not continue to be ignored.
“We must overcome double standards in all UN processes including in the Security Council,” the Pakistani envoy added.
His remarks on Kashmir evoked a protest from an Indian delegate, Sneha Dubey, who harped on the same old tune that the disputed Kashmir region is an integral part of India.
At the outset of his speech, Ambassador Akram told the meeting, which coincided with International Women’s Day, that Pakistani women have played and continue to play an important role in every walk of life.
Less visible in the Security Council's debates is the ongoing violence against women & girls in occupied Jammu & Kashmir where there is documented evidence of rape & sexual violence being used as a weapon of war…: Amb Munir Akram at #SC debate #IWD
— Permanent Mission of Pakistan to UN, NY (@PakistanUN_NY) March 9, 2022
“Pakistani women have served as Prime Minister, Speaker of the National Assembly, Leader of the Opposition, Cabinet Ministers, Judges, Army officers, fighter pilots. Twenty percent of our diplomats are women and rising,” he said, adding that Pakistan has deployed 450 Women Peacekeepers and their ratio in its contingents is also growing.
The Pakistani envoy also agreed with the need to implement the four pillars of WPS (women, peace and security) agenda and ensure women’s participation in relief and recovery activities in post-conflict settings.
Countries affected by conflict need technical support within a culturally sensitive framework in full respect for State sovereignty and national ownership, he said.
Opening the debate, the top UN official for the empowerment of women, Sima Bahous, said that equal economic empowerment between the sexes would yield huge dividends for peacebuilding efforts, as she and other experts highlighted the need for increased international efforts on meaningful inclusion, regardless of gender.
“We have the blueprint and the business case to support women’s economic inclusion; what we need is political will to pursue it,” said Ms. Bahous, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women).
Investing in women’s economic empowerment has a beneficial impact on both peace and prosperity, she underscored. Conversely, exclusion and discrimination — along with outmoded gender stereotypes — work to keep women out of a variety of spheres, including those related to jobs and technologies.