At UN, Pakistan’s resolution reaffirming peoples’ right to self-determination passed unanimously

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 17 (Alliance News): A key committee of the UN General Assembly Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution renewing the global commitment to the principle of self-determination for peoples still subjected to colonial, foreign and alien occupation.

Co-sponsored by 64 countries, the resolution, submitted by Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Munir Akram, was adopted without a vote in the 193-member Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural issues.

 

 

The resolution, which Pakistan has been sponsoring since 1981, serves to focus the world’s attention on the people still struggling for their inalienable right to self-determination, including those in Palestine and Kashmir.

The text is expected to come up for General Assembly’s endorsement next month.

“The right to self-determination of peoples provides a formidable foundation on which the edifice of human rights and fundamental freedoms is built for all,” Ambassador Akram, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, said while introducing the draft.

That right, he said, has been codified in many international documents, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Covenant on Social and Cultural Rights. The definition has further been elaborated upon by various courts and legal experts.

“Almost all former colonies and subjugated peoples, who are represented in this august committee today as sovereign nations, secured their independence by exercising their right to self-determination,” he said, pointing out that there were, however, situations where occupied peoples are still systematically denied this right and are obliged to continue their valiant struggle for its realization.

“The means and methods by which occupying powers continue to suppress the legitimate struggles for self-determination are brutal and oppressive, including use of naked military force, egregious human rights violations, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide,” the Pakistani envoy added.

Under the terms of the draft resolution, the General Assembly would reaffirm the universal realization of the rights of all peoples, including those under colonial, foreign and alien domination, to self-determination as a fundamental condition for the effective guarantee and observance of human rights.

The resolution also declared the General Assembly’s firm opposition to acts of foreign military intervention, aggression and occupation, since these have resulted in the suppression of the right of peoples to self-determination and other human rights in certain parts of the world.

It called on those States responsible to cease immediately their military intervention in and occupation of foreign countries and territories, as well as all acts of repression, discrimination, exploitation and maltreatment.

The Assembly would also deplore the plight of millions of refugees and displaced persons who have been uprooted as a result of these acts and reaffirm their right to return to their homes voluntarily in safety and honour.

It urges the Human Rights Council to give special attention to the violation of human rights, especially the right to self-determination, resulting from foreign military intervention, aggression or occupation. It also requests the Secretary-General to report to the next Session of the General Assembly on this question.

Explaining India’s vote, an Indian delegate repeated New Delhi’s stand that the right to self-determination is a right of non-self-governing colonies, which allows people to freely choose their governing structures. India is a former colony, the Indian delegate said, claiming that the right to self-determination cannot be applied to undermine democratic institutions and groups within sovereign States.

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