New York: A committee of the UN General Assembly unanimously passed a Pakistan-sponsored resolution reaffirming that the universal realization of the right of peoples to self-determination was a fundamental condition for the effective guarantee and observance of human rights.
The resolution, co-sponsored by 72 countries, was adopted without a vote in the 193-member Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with Social, humanitarian and cultural issues.
Political observers say the resolution, which Pakistan has been tabling since 1981, serves to focus the world’s attention on the struggle by peoples for their inalienable right to self-determination, including those in Kashmir and Palestine.
The resolution is expected to come up for General Assembly’s endorsement next month.
The text also declared the 193-member body’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.
The resolution also 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.
Presenting the draft, Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said the right to self-determination was a fundamental principle of the United Nations Charter and international law.
“Exercise of this right has enabled millions across the world to emerge from the yolk of colonial and foreign occupation and alien domination,” she said, adding, “Many of us, present here today, are proud inheritors of this struggle to achieve a life of dignity and honour, as free citizens of independent states.”
Pakistan’s commitment to the universal right of peoples to self-determination was “firm and abiding”. She recalled that in 1952, the legendary Professor Ahmad Shah Bukhari, Pakistan’s first Permanent Representative to the UN, speaking before the Security Council, on the Tunisian question, said, “whatever the action the Security Council, in its wisdom may wish to take, we will keep this [right] in our hearts alive, and we will do the best we can.”
Pakistan, Ambassador Lodhi added, was “proud and humbled” to have kept this ideal alive, and to have given voice to the yearning for freedom, in Africa, Asia, and across the world.
Under its terms, the Assembly deplored 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.