The UN and Kashmir:  Where Do We Go From Here?

If we were to judge the UN based upon its history of involvement in efforts to resolve international conflicts, the simplest answer is that it has been  an enormous failure.  The UN of course is a far more complex organization whose work covers such a wide range of activities that conflict resolution is really only a small aspect of its work. Nevertheless, if we consider the fact that its fundamental mission in being created was to be a means of preventing global catastrophes like the Second World War, then conflict resolution would have to be considered Job One. In addition, the word “conflict” in the phrase “conflict resolution” was defined as conflict among or between sovereign nations.  As Chapter I, Article 2, stipulates, ” Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter;” 

Yet, curiously, in complete violation of this rule, one of the first significant acts of the UN occurred on November 29, 1947, to partition the state of Palestine into two states, a country which clearly was not in conflict or at war with any other. The partition plan ironically not only did not prevent war but in fact provoked a war between the newly created Israel and its neighbors, a conflict which has now gone on for 69 years with no resolution in sight.    

In context, Kashmir cannot be ignored, perhaps for no other reason than the conflict there has gone on for 69 years and seems destined to continue as long as the Indian armed forces continue to occupy the region. The potential for genocide is very real and massive killings have already occurred in the past. The tens of thousands who have been killed along with vast human rights abuses seem to go on without end. This past summer’s tragedy of violence was just another episode in the long drama that has been witnessed.  The UN high Commissioner on Human Rights who spoke on September 13, 2016 during the opening of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, said in response,  “We had previously received reports, and still continue to do so, claiming the Indian authorities had used force excessively against the civilian population under its administration…I believe an independent, impartial and international mission is now needed crucially and that it should be given free and complete access to establish an objective assessment of the claims made by the two sides.” Of course the Indian government continues to ignore such calls for investigation, because it believes that such ruthless tactics are the only way to deal with opposition to its policies.  Such policies are almost a guarantee that yet another great tragedy in the UN’s history will occur.

Nevertheless, The Kashmir dispute has an international dimension because it has the sanctity of the UN Charter and UN Security Council resolutions and has become a big hurdle or obstacle in the growth and stability of both India and Pakistan. The unresolved conflict over Kashmir threatens the international peace and security of the world.  It is far past time for the UN to take forceful action in order to restore peace to Kashmir.  Perhaps Resolution 2098 ought to be reviewed as an option to consider in dealing with this problem, because nothing else to date has worked.  It’s time for the UN to restore the faith of common people that it is an agency that can live up to its bold charter and mission of bringing peace and stability to the world. 

 

 

 

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