Vienna, Austria; 28 MAY, 2018: Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir has emphasized the absolute need to establish lasting peace in South Asia, without any preconditions and resolving all outstanding issues, especially the issue of Jammu and Kashmir through dialogue, negotiations and mediation all within the framework of the United Nations.

The President made these remarks while addressing the inaugural session of the International Peace Studies Conference 2018 organized by the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) held at the Diplomatic Academy, Austria here today.

President Masood Khan while speaking to his audience said that even though the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) has been deployed in the region to help monitor the situation along the Line of Control yet there is a dire need to make it more functional and effective.

Underlining the need to resolve the issue of Kashmir – the core conflict in South Asia – the President said that this dispute must be resolved through engagements and dialogues between the two neighbouring countries while giving unqualified prominence to the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and safeguarding their human rights. “The use of force and violence is not a solution to this dispute”, he said.

President AJK that chronic conflicts must never be dispatched to the back burner of history but instead due to their sensitivity and volatility they must figure prominently on the UN Security Council’s horizon.

The President urged that the UN’s primary role in maintaining peace cannot be ignored especially in the areas with long-standing conflicts and for this, he proposed:

Firstly, the Security Council should proactively encourage and guide parties to the dispute to engage in negotiations, mediations and arbitrations as well as other legal means, as provided in Article 33 of the UN Charter; but if the parties fail to settle the dispute by such means, they should refer it to the Security Council in accordance with Article 37

Secondly, the Council should uphold international law, especially international humanitarian law and human rights law to maintain international peace and security. Thirdly, the Council should proceed, unhampered by selectivity and realpolitik, against instances of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity; and in this regard constitute commissions of enquiry and fact-finding missions.

Lastly, a method should be devised to ensure implementation of and compliance with the Security Council resolutions. Members should be obligated not to act unilaterally and violate or erode the Council’s solemn pledges and resolutions.

President Masood Khan highlighting the importance of multilateral organizations like the UN, said that peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding are part of a continuum of preventive diplomacy and amongst the three, peacemaking in accordance with Chapter VI of the UN Charter is the most important element because to keep and build peace, there must be some semblance of peace in the first place.

The UN, he said, has had considerable successes in many strife-torn zones and regions, like Timor-Leste, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi, Kosovo and Haiti despite the fact, that there is no guarantee of success due to the challenging and volatile environments in which peacekeeping missions operate.

The President explained that despite these successes the UN has not succeeded in bringing stability and security to many regions and countries like Somalia, Rwanda, Libya, Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, Central African Republic and chronic conflicts like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Palestine and Kashmir, have not yielded to any solution.

The pressing need, said the President, is to approach issues of global impact with absolute impartiality, aloof of any political and strategic interests and to not fall a victim to realpolitik. He said reformations in the UN strengthening it through democratizing decision-making processes in the UNSC is needed. He added that the Permanent Five should distance itself from monopolizing and dominating the action on long-standing persistent issues like Kashmir, Palestine, Korean Peninsula, Syria, Ukraine which have a graver and wider implication on global peace and security.

The session was also addressed by Michael Spindelegger former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Austria; Emil Brix, Director, Vienna School of International Studies; Kishore Mandhyan, Director for Peacekeeping, UN; Mike Hardy, Director Coventry University Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations; Walter Feichtinger, Austrian National Defence Academy; Farid Zarif former UN Under-Secretary General and Coordinator UN Operation Liberia-UNMIL; Mohammad Nizamuddin, Chairperson, Punjab Higher Education Commission; Lucia Mokra, Dean Social and Economic Sciences Comenius University of Bratislava; Mauro Miedico, Chief Terrorism Prevention, UN Office on Drugs and Crime; Goran Bozicevic , Center for Peace Studies Croatia; Walter Kemp, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe; Heinz Gärtner, International Institute for Peace; University of Vienna and Afsar Rathore, former Programme Coordinator UN

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