Pakistan joins the international community in observing the International Human Rights Day, marked each year to commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations on 10 December 1948. This day is an occasion to reaffirm our resolve to respect and uphold human dignity and to promote the human rights agenda without any distinction or discrimination.The UDHR embodies the humanity’s collective ideals of building peaceful, inclusive and just societies. We are proud of the rich imprints in the document from Pakistan’s representative, Begum Shaista Ikramullah, who was amongst the select group that drafted the UDHR.As a progressive and democratic State that is mindful of its international commitments and obligations, Pakistan is constructively engaged with various human rights mechanisms under UN auspices. We always strive to play a positive role as a bridge-builder across diverse political and regional perspectives at the UN.Nationally, we have instituted wide-ranging people-centric policy measures, which are anchored in the Government’s vision to reshape Pakistan in the image of the State of Madinah established by our Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him).Bolstered by our Constitution, progressive legislation, administrative reforms,and institution building, our actions are particularly aimed at the disadvantaged by seeking to reduce inequalities and expand access to education, health-care and employment opportunities. Poverty alleviation, empowerment of women and youth, achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring equality of opportunities, and justice for all segments of the society are at the center of Pakistan’s human rights priorities. Pakistan’s response to COVID-19 has been comprehensive, with a special focus on vulnerable groups. The global pandemic warrants a holistic approach including by ensuring affordable and equitable access to and distribution of COVID vaccine, and increasing fiscal space for developing countries in support of their recovery efforts through debt relief.On this day, we must particularly keep in our thoughts and prayers the oppressed people in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), who are not only being denied their inalienable right to self-determination for over seven decades, but also facing gruesome repression at the hands of Indian occupation forces acting with full impunity. Since 5 August 2019, these people are enduring the worst form of human rights violations.Their suffering has increased manifolds during the global pandemic. In defiance of its obligations under the UN Charter, UNSC resolutions and international law, especially the 4th Geneva Convention, India is seeking to alter the demographic structure of the occupied territory.India’s gross and systematic violations of human rights in IIOJK have been comprehensively documented in the two Kashmir reports of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) as well as by the UN Special Procedure Mandate Holders, international civil society, and the media.Pakistan reiterates its call on the international community to hold India accountable for serious crimes against the Kashmiri people in IIOJK. India must be called upon to accept a UN Commission of Inquiry for an independent and impartial investigation of the situation in IIOJK and fully respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Kashmiri people.