July 20, 2024

Md Nazrul: A key committee of the UN General Assembly on Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution reaffirming the right to self-determination for peoples who are subjected to colonial, foreign and alien occupation.

Co-sponsored by 72 countries, the resolution, submitted by Pakistan, 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 Kashmir and Palestine. It is expected to come up for General Assembly’s endorsement next month.

Introducing the draft, Ambassador Munir Akram, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, said that the General Assembly has not only established the scope of the right to self-determination, but also further crystallized its status as customary international law.

“Almost all former colonies and subjugated peoples, who are represented in this Assembly today as sovereign nations, secured their independence by exercising their right to self-determination,” he said. There were, however, situations where occupied peoples were being systematically denied this right and are obliged to struggle for its realization.

“The means by which occupying powers continue to suppress the legitimate struggles for self-determination are often brutal and violent; including naked military force, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, rape and sexual violence, torture, curfews, communication blackouts, lockdown of civilian populations, illegal settlements and demographic changes,” the Pakistani envoy said.

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 reaffirms 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.

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