KARACHI, Pakistan

Pakistan on World Humanitarian Day 2020 has urged the international community, including the UN, to pressurize India to stop reported human rights abuses in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region.

“On this occasion, we would once again urge the global humanitarian fraternity to do everything it can to ameliorate the worsening humanitarian situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir, including call for lifting the year-long draconian military siege and provision of unfettered access and assistance to Kashmiri people in dire need of healthcare, ” read a statement by its Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, referring to the communication blockade of the disputed valley, following revoking of its longstanding semi-autonomous status last year.

The Muslim-majority Himalayan valley – held by both the countries in parts but claimed in full – has been a major bone of contention between the nuclear arch-rivals for decades.

“We reiterate the need for evolving a strategic approach to address humanitarian emergencies, guided by the imperative of upholding international humanitarian law, preventing conflicts from eruption, and peacefully resolving long-standing disputes and conflicts,” the statement added.

Islamabad urged the global community “to uphold the principles of burden- and responsibility-sharing” to support sustainable humanitarian responses in large refugee hosting countries, a reference to Turkey, and Pakistan, which host millions of Syrian, and Afghan refugees, respectively.

“Pakistan and its people have shown exemplary generosity, compassion and hospitality in hosting more than three million Afghans for over four decades, the press release said, thanking its partners, particularly the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, for helping in taking care of Afghan refugees.

“The protracted refugee situations continue to impact millions of lives and should be supported by the international community in every aspect,” it said.

Paying tribute to humanitarian workers in conflict zones, Islamabad also commended their “active role and substantial contribution” in responding to the unprecedented health and socio-economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The annual day commemorates humanitarian workers killed and injured in the course of their work. It was designated in memory of the Aug. 19, 2003 bomb attack in Baghdad, Iraq, killing 22 people, including the chief humanitarian in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

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