ASIAINTL CONFLICTSOPINION

UN’s role as a peacemaker in Kashmir

United Nations was established in 1945, giving hope to the weaker states for a peaceful world without any suppression from the powerful. The Charter of UN states “to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character”. The functions of the UN were mainly based on the theory of liberalism. The liberalist school of thought rejected the power politics and the concepts related to the realism of the inevitable occurrence of conflict and war. Since 1945, its priority was “in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.” Cooperation based on mutual benefits, the international community joining hands to help each other and making the world a better place to live, ensuring the right to life and freedom of expression for all. Encourage the formation and following of international norms and laws, for shaping the state policies in the interest of not only the states but the entire world.

The prominent responsibility was to provide such a forum where the conflicting states can resolve their disputes in a non-hostile manner. To foster international trade among the nations for enhancing trade and interdependency among nations, this will lead to less chance of war. Also, to introduce democratic procedures, emphasizing people’s representatives, hence paving a way for less inter and intrastate conflicts and better protection and promotion of rights of individuals.  

Initially, the UN member states comprised of only 51 members but currently, there are 193 members. The four main objectives highlighted in the UN Charter as the organization’s principles or purposes are, to “maintain international peace and security”, to “develop friendly relations among nations”, “achieve international cooperation in solving international problems” and to “be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends”. The prime responsibility rests with the United Nations Security Council and with its P5 members to maintain peace and stability.

Whether the organization has been a success story or not is a great debate. Let’s shed some light on historical conflicts and the chances for states to launch a war against each other. The cold war is the example in which the UN has been able to minimize a full-fledged war between the US and USSR. Other than these, the achievements of the UN are that nuclear weapons have not been used since its inception. The respect for international laws has been enhanced with its establishment. It worked as a peacekeeping force by negotiations and ceasefire and helped in settling many war-prone conflicts in several regions. UN has bring protection of life and promotes the well-being of children as well removal of discrimination and violence against women across the globe.

These achievements cannot be ignored on one hand but recently many have raised questions on the UN’s pivotal role in conflict prevention. UN involvement in the power politics is eminent as fingers are only pointed at the weaker states. The world bears testimony to the fact that UN has failed to bring peace and prosperity in many states, for example, war in Afghanistan, Palestine-Israel collision, Syrian conflict and the Kashmir issue between Pakistan and India. Kashmir issue between Pakistan and India has not found a solution despite the case being in UN custody. Since 1947-1971 UN has passed eighteen resolutions related to the Kashmir conflict and established the “United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan” (UNCIP) and United Nations Military Observer Group was to work as a mediator and investigate/monitor issues around the of the ceasefire line. 

United Nations has persistently failed in its primary duties of maintaining peace and security and in curbing the human rights violations in IHK. The Preamble of UN Charter stated its objective in this manner, “to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained”. But when we see the real India, has breached international law. India is continuously using torture calling it a “matter of policy” and “instrument of control” in Kashmir, and Kashmiris have been struggling for their rights against the Indian rule “since 1989”. 

The government of India has recently evoked autonomous rule in Indian Held Kashmir on 5thAugust 2019 rushed to pass a Presidential decision to scrap a special status of the most far-reaching political step on the disputed territory.The scrapping of Article 35 A and Article 370 proves Modi’s Government intentions to suppress the Kashmiri voices. The Ladakh division of the state of Jammu and Kashmir has been given the status of Union Territory without legislature. The revoke of the special status of IHK has come to a Presidential decree. This is a clear violation of the UN Resolutions and depicts a continuous failure of the United Nations, whose utmost responsibility is to safeguard the lives of innocents. 

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In June 2018, UNHCR highlighted the atrocities and violence by the Indian government in the IHK. Human rights violations are at its peak and there is a dire need for not only the UN to wake up but also the international community. Death of democracy can be seen by the hands of the Modi government as the Kashmiris have no access to raise any sort of voice against the atrocities. Curfew has been imposed in the IHK and people are not allowed to visit mosques for performing their religious obligations. Those Kashmiris who try to raise their voice against the Indian forces are beaten to death and many have been forced to flee to other parts of the country. India’s recent step is not only a violation of its constitution but also a violation of UN basic principles. Article II of the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide”, killing members of a group, or even causing them serious bodily or mental harm comes under the definition of the crime of genocideDespite Pakistan’s continuous struggle against the Indian injustices, the world has been silent. UN must take serious against the Indian massacre, if not, then almost 1.5 billion people of South Asia are under a constant threat of war. The war will not be restricted between two nations, but due to the nuclear capabilities of both states, it was will be spread across the entire region as well as the globe. The United Nations Security Council’s prime mandate at the creation was to maintain peace and security in the world, yet it has failed to perform its primary task. The world has its eyes on the UN and innocent Kashmiris are waiting for justice. This is a moment for realization for not only the UN but also the great powers of the world to act against the brutalities in IHK. If an action is not taken against this ruthlessness act by Indian forces, then a big question on the existence of the UN and its role is under stake. 

Beenesh Ansari is a Senior Research Fellow at South Asian Strategic Stability Institute.

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