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Human Rights

International Women’s Day 2022



Every year, women and men around the world celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8. The IWD has grown from a labour movement to an annual event recognised by the UN. The seeds for which were planted back in 1908, when 15,000 women marched through the streets of New York; demanding shorter working hours, higher wages and the right to vote. Clara Zetkin, an activist and advocate for women’s rights, suggested an exclusive international day designated solely for the empowerment of women. It was unanimously agreed upon at the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen in 1910 and first officially celebrated in 1911 in four countries. In 1975, the UN started celebrating the day internationally.

The IWD has become a day to celebrate the struggles and momentous achievements of women. On this day, we look back at how far women have come in society. The political roots of the day are still exemplified in strikes and protests to raise awareness about lasting inequality. The UN announced their theme for IWD 2022 as “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” They will be hosting events, including an international virtual conference, to recognise how women worldwide are responding to climate change. According to the IWD’s website, this year’s selected hashtag is #BreakTheBias, which asks people to imagine “a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination.”

Aurat March has proven to be a phenomenal success; forcing societies to acknowledge the efforts of women.

The IWD is celebrated worldwide with festivals and protests. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021, the time needed to close the global gender gap has increased from 99.5 years to 135.6 years. A 2021 study by UN Women based on 13 countries depicted that 45 per cent of women claimed that they or a woman they knew experienced some form of violence during the pandemic-with the most common forms of abuse being verbal and outright denial of basic resources.

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Such statistics highlight the unfortunate realities of women worldwide. With an aim to bring about positive change, feminist groups around the world have organised demonstrations in the last few years; demanding equal working rights, abortion rights and an end to violence against women. Many campaign for their governments to revoke gender discriminative laws and push for new laws to protect women.

The first IWD march in Pakistan, known as the Aurat March, was organised by a small group of women in 2018 in Karachi who hoped to draw attention to the violence and inequality faced by women across the country. When women organised the first Aurat March, they did not expect a large turnout. However, women from all walks of life joined together to raise their voices for basic rights. Issues such as inheritance rights, rights to education, access to health services, domestic violence and equal wages were raised through speeches and placards.

Although many dismissed the massive turnout as a one-time fluke, women took it as a wake-up call. The event only increased in magnitude over the subsequent years. The march spread to a multitude of cities across Pakistan and even men began to participate in the event. Aurat March has proven to be a phenomenal success; forcing societies to acknowledge the efforts of women.

With continued support and the organisation of the annual Aurat Marches, Pakistani women hope to achieve similar milestones. Women who take part in the march display a great deal of symbolic power, but such outrage of demanding rights is limited to the more urban areas in Pakistan – Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi – even though around 63 per cent of Pakistani women live in rural areas.

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While women worldwide and in Pakistan’s urban areas hope to close the wage gap and attain more positions of leadership, women from rural areas in Pakistan would like to be able to leave their homes without permission from male family members; most are currently financially and emotionally dependent on men.

Therefore, although the Aurat March provides an excellent opportunity for Pakistani women to raise their voices against the injustice they face, the march is restricted in its scope, as most of its participants are from urban towns and not subjected to the even greater barriers faced by rural women. The march seems to comprise only a small subset of Pakistan’s women: the urban and upper-middle classes. This year, protestors hope to see organisers make a greater effort to include various ethnicities, classes and sects of women in Pakistan.

Via DT

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Human Rights

The Role of Arab League, OIC, and UN in the Gaza Crisis for Peace




The Gaza crisis has been a longstanding and deeply entrenched conflict, with far-reaching implications for regional stability and global peace. In this opinion article, we delve into the roles played by three key organizations—the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the United Nations (UN)—in addressing the crisis and fostering a path towards lasting peace.

The Arab League: A Regional Voice

The Arab League, comprising 22 member states, has historically been a significant player in Middle Eastern affairs. Its mission is to promote cooperation, solidarity, and joint action among Arab nations. When it comes to the Gaza crisis, the Arab League has taken several steps:

  1. Advocacy for Palestinian Rights: The Arab League consistently advocates for the rights of Palestinians, emphasizing their right to self-determination and statehood. It has condemned Israeli actions in Gaza and called for an end to the blockade.
  2. Diplomatic Efforts: The League has engaged in diplomatic efforts, urging dialogue between Israel and Palestine. While these efforts have faced challenges, they remain crucial for maintaining communication channels.
  3. Humanitarian Aid: The Arab League provides humanitarian aid to Gaza, supporting essential services and infrastructure. However, the scale of the crisis demands sustained and expanded assistance.

The OIC: Solidarity and Advocacy

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation represents 57 member states, making it the second-largest intergovernmental organization after the UN. Its role in the Gaza crisis includes:

  1. Solidarity with Palestinians: The OIC stands in unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian people. It has consistently condemned Israeli aggression and called for an end to the occupation.
  2. Legal Advocacy: The OIC has supported legal efforts to hold Israel accountable for violations of international law. This includes advocating for investigations into alleged war crimes committed during conflicts in Gaza.
  3. Promoting Dialogue: The OIC encourages dialogue between Israel and Palestine, emphasizing the need for a just and comprehensive solution. It recognizes that peace cannot be achieved without addressing core issues.
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The UN: A Multilateral Approach

The United Nations, as the global body responsible for peace and security, plays a critical role in the Gaza crisis:

  1. UN Resolutions: Numerous UN resolutions affirm the rights of Palestinians and call for an end to the occupation. However, implementation remains a challenge due to geopolitical complexities.
  2. Humanitarian Assistance: UN agencies provide vital humanitarian aid to Gaza, including food, healthcare, and education. Yet, the situation remains dire, with chronic shortages and infrastructure damage.
  3. Peacekeeping Efforts: The UN supports peacekeeping missions and facilitates dialogue between conflicting parties. However, achieving lasting peace requires sustained commitment from all stakeholders.

Conclusion: A Collective Responsibility

The Gaza crisis demands collective action. The Arab League, OIC, and UN must collaborate more effectively, transcending political differences. Here are some steps forward:

  1. Comprehensive Dialogue: Encourage direct talks between Israel and Palestine, addressing core issues such as borders, settlements, and refugees.
  2. Economic Development: Invest in Gaza’s economic development to alleviate suffering and create opportunities for its people.
  3. International Pressure: The international community must exert consistent pressure on all parties to comply with international law and seek peaceful solutions.

In the end, peace in Gaza is not just a regional concern—it is a global imperative. Let us work together to ensure a brighter future for all.


What is the Gaza crisis? 

The Gaza crisis refers to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, specifically centered around the Gaza Strip. It involves territorial disputes, violence, and humanitarian challenges affecting the lives of civilians in the region.

What is the Arab League, and what role does it play in the Gaza crisis? 

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The Arab League is an organization comprising 22 member states from the Arab world. Its role in the Gaza crisis includes advocating for Palestinian rights, engaging in diplomatic efforts, and providing humanitarian aid. The League consistently condemns Israeli actions and calls for an end to the blockade.

How does the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) contribute to addressing the Gaza crisis? 

The OIC represents 57 member states and stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people. It supports legal efforts to hold Israel accountable for violations of international law and promotes dialogue between conflicting parties. The OIC emphasizes the need for a just and comprehensive solution.

What role does the United Nations (UN) play in the Gaza crisis? 

The UN, as a global body responsible for peace and security, has issued numerous resolutions affirming Palestinian rights and calling for an end to the occupation. UN agencies provide humanitarian aid to Gaza, but achieving lasting peace requires sustained commitment from all stakeholders.

What steps can be taken to address the crisis and work towards peace?

  1. Encourage comprehensive dialogue between Israel and Palestine.

Invest in Gaza’s economic development.

Exert international pressure to ensure compliance with international law.

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Human Rights

OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly



The OIC Ministerial Meeting of the Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir was held on September 20, 2023, at the United Nations headquarters, in New York on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The meeting was chaired by Mr Hissein Brahim Taha, the Secretary General of the OIC. It was attended by the foreign ministers and senior officials of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Niger and representative of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The ministers reaffirmed their support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their struggle to achieve the right of self-determination that was promised to them by the United Nations. The ministers also expressed their fervent desire to see an immediate end to the sufferings of the people of Kashmir so that conditions are created for a sustained and meaningful dialogue between Pakistan, India and the leadership of the people of Kashmir.

Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani, the foreign minister of Pakistan apprised the members of the Contact Group about the deteriorating and serious situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir, saying that “The current Indian leadership is bent upon perpetuating India’s occupation of Jammu & Kashmir.” He warned the members of the Contact Group that newly enacted laws are designed to change the demography of Kashmir. Otherwise, why India has issued millions of domicile certificates to Indian citizens to settle in Kashmir, he asked?

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, participated today in the meeting of the Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir organized by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 78). Addressing the meeting, Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stands by the Muslim people in maintaining their Islamic identity and preserving their dignity. The foreign minister also reiterated the Kingdom’s support to the afflicted people in areas witnessing conflicts and unrest, including the people of the Jammu and Kashmir region.

Saudi Foreign Minister added that the Jammu and Kashmir issue constitutes one of the pressing challenges facing the security and stability of the region, the foreign minister said, warning that leaving the issue unresolved will contribute to regional instability. The Kingdom is exerting unremitting effort to mediate between the parties of the conflict in order to reduce escalation and achieve calm and a peaceful settlement to the issue in accordance with the relevant international resolutions, the foreign minister said. Such efforts emanate from the Kingdom’s unwavering stance in support of Islamic peoples. Deputy Minister for International Multilateral Affairs Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Rassi and Director-General of the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulrahman Al-Dawood attended the meeting.

Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, representing the people of Jammu and Kashmir conveyed the gratitude of the people to brotherly member states of the OIC Contact Group for their steadfast and unwavering support extended to them in their struggle for the right of self-determination.

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Dr. Fai added that the issue of Indian-occupied Kashmir continues to be unresolved and the international community has almost relinquished and retracted from the promise that was made to them in 1948. – the promise of the right of self-determination under the auspices of the United Nations. To break the will of the people of Kashmir, India has deployed over 900,000 soldiers fully armed and with unlimited powers under the draconian Kashmir-specific laws which have wreaked havoc in the region. The atrocities inflicted on the hapless Kashmiris have been documented by Indian and international human rights organizations, like Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch, including a 47-page report issued by the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights.

The following nine recommendations were made by Dr. Fai to the OIC Contact Group in Jammu and Kashmir for immediate action.

1. OIC must re-educate the member nations of the UN General Assembly that the conflict of Kashmir is primarily about the right to self-determination, no ifs and no buts.

2. OIC must persuade the United Nations to convey to the Government of India to rescind the Domicile Law which is designed to change the demography of Kashmir and change the majority Muslim character into a minority community
3. OIC should also convince the United Nations to prevail upon India to repeal all draconian laws, including the Unlawful Activity Prevention Act (UAPA), the Public Safety Act (PSA) which are being used to forcibly silence the people into submission.
4. Given the report, issued by the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights on June 14, 2018 & July 8, 2019, regarding the ‘Situation in Kashmir’, we request the OIC members of the Human Rights Council to endorse this report and initiate a joint OIC resolution to set up an enquiry commission on human rights violations in Kashmir during the forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to be held in February 2024.
5. Widely use and disseminate testimony of Dr Gregory Stanton, Chairman, ‘Genocide Watch’, which he gave to the United States Congress on January 12, 2022, and repeated that Kashmir was on the brink of genocide.
6. The OIC must provide ‘safe havens’ for the Kashmiri Diaspora, especially those fleeing oppression in Occupied Kashmir – scholars, activists, journalists, and businessmen – in OIC member states, in an institutional manner, like opening up visas/jobs / relocation facilitation for such skilled and professional Kashmiris, for whom living in Modi’s India has become unbearable.
7. In the ‘battle of ideas for Azadi (Freedom) of Kashmiri people, OIC must promote the 3 core causes together: PKR (Palestine, Kashmir, Rohingya); and establish a special website, combining genocide with resistance.
8. OIC should allocate emergency scholarship funds to the meritorious students of Kashmir who are the victims of Indian state terrorism.
9. OIC must persuade the Government of India to release all political prisoners unconditionally, including Mohammad Yasin Malik, Shabir Ahmed Shah, Masarat Alalm, Aasia Andrabi, Khurram Parvez, and others.

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A Joint Communique was adopted unanimously during the Contact Group meeting which condemns the protracted detention of the entire Hurriyat leadership, the genuine voice of the Kashmiri political aspirations, and thousands of political activists, journalists and human rights defenders.

The Communique also reads:

Reaffirming the inalienable right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Rejecting the conduct of the G-20 Tourism Working Group Meeting, held in Srinagar on 22-24 May 2023, which aimed to legitimize India’s illegal occupation of the IIOJK and sought to project a facade of normalcy in the occupied territory.

Denouncing India’s continued refusal to allow the OIC Special Envoy, the OIC- Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), the UN Special Mandate Holders and international civil society organizations to visit IIOJK.

Welcoming the role played by the relevant UN Special Rapporteurs, world leaders, parliamentarians, human rights organizations, and international media, in raising their voice against illegal Indian occupation and then ongoing egregious human rights violations in IIOJK.

The Joint Communique also:

Denounced the Indian authorities’ fresh plea seeking the death penalty for one of the renowned Kashmiri leaders, Yaseen Malik, who is incarcerated and has already been awarded life imprisonment; and mandated the Special Envoy on Jammu and Kashmir to take appropriate steps to raise voice against the possible award of the death penalty to Malik.

Rejected the illegal and unilateral actions taken by India on August 5, 2019, as well as subsequent steps to undermine the internationally- recognized disputed status of the IIOJK and to alter its demographic structure and political landscape.

Appreciated the countries, which decided to dissociate themselves from the G-20 Tourism Working Group Meeting in Srinagar, and,

Barrister Sultan Mehmood Choudhary, President Azad Kashmir & Mr Ghulam Mohmmad Safi, representative of All Parties Hurriyat Conference addressed the Contact Group via Zoom.

Barrister Sultan Mehmood Choudhary, President, of Azad Jammu Kashmir said that Kashmir is one of the oldest issues, pending on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council. The urgency dictates the United Nations and the OIC must come forward to support the people of Kashmir in their struggle to achieve the right to self-determination.

Mr. Safi highlighted the grave situation in Kashmir and emphasized that the Kashmir dispute needs to be resolved for the sake of international peace and security. The inaction and passivity of the world powers have given the sense of total impunity to 900,000 Indian soldiers in occupied Kashmir, Mr Safi told the group.

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5 Reasons Why Modi Tarnished the Secular Face of India with Diplomatic Failures Globally



In a world marked by geopolitical complexities and diplomatic intricacies, the role of a nation’s leader on the global stage is pivotal in shaping the perception of their country. Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, has faced both acclaim and criticism for his tenure in office. While his supporters laud his domestic policies and charismatic leadership, there is a growing concern regarding his handling of India’s foreign relations and the impact it has had on the nation’s secular image. In this article, we delve into five key reasons why Modi’s diplomatic approach has raised questions about India’s secular identity on the global platform.

1. Neglecting India’s Secular Legacy

India, from its inception, has been known for its secular fabric that embraces diverse religions and cultures. However, under Modi’s leadership, critics argue that the government has leaned towards promoting a more homogenized, Hindu-centric identity. This shift is reflected in policies like the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which have sparked concerns about religious discrimination and exclusion. Such actions have led to international criticism, tarnishing India’s secular image globally.

2. Handling of the Kashmir Issue

The Kashmir conflict has long been a flashpoint in South Asia, with India and Pakistan both claiming the region. Modi’s government took a drastic step in August 2019 by revoking Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which granted special autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This move was met with condemnation from Pakistan and concerns from the international community. Critics argue that the decision disregarded the voices and aspirations of the Kashmiri people and escalated tensions in the region.

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Howdy, Modi!Prime Minister Narendra Modi

3. Controversial Foreign Visits

Modi’s foreign visits have been extensively covered in the media, but they have not always garnered positive attention. His visits to countries like the United States and the United Arab Emirates have been accompanied by extravagant events, leading some to question the priorities of the Indian government. Critics argue that such grandiose displays divert attention from pressing domestic issues and do little to bolster India’s diplomatic standing on the global stage.

4. Inconsistent Approach to Religious Minorities

One of the key tenets of secularism is the protection of religious minorities. Critics argue that under Modi’s leadership, there has been a lack of decisive action to address incidents of religious intolerance and violence against minority communities, particularly Muslims and Christians. These incidents have drawn international concern and have led to accusations that India’s commitment to secularism is wavering.

5. Handling of International Crises

Modi’s handling of international crises, such as the India-China border standoff in 2020, has raised questions about India’s diplomatic finesse. While the government presented a strong front domestically, there were concerns about its ability to resolve the conflict peacefully and avoid escalation. Diplomatic failures in such situations can have far-reaching consequences for a country’s global image and the worst relations with neighbouring nations, especially China, Pakistan and Nepal.


Finally, Narendra Modi’s tenure as Prime Minister has been marked by both domestic achievements and diplomatic challenges. While his supporters hail his leadership, critics argue that his approach to diplomacy has tarnished India’s secular face on the global stage. From controversial policies to handling international crises, the concerns raised are valid and merit attention. It is essential for India to reevaluate its foreign policy approach to regain its reputation as a secular and inclusive nation.

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