UN body adopts Pak resolution on self-determination right

United Nations: A committee of the UN General Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a Pakistan-sponsored resolution reaffirming that the universal realisation 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 75 countries — more than last year — was adopted without a vote in the 193-member Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with Social, humanitarian and cultural issues.

Pakistan’s Ambasador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi later told APP that “the adoption of the resolution reaffirms the inviolability of the right to self-determination for all peoples without exception, including, of course, the people of Jammu and Kashmir”.

Diplomatic observers state that the resolution, which Pakistan has been tabling annually, 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.

Speaking to APP, the Pakistani envoy said that adoption of this resolution by consensus and co-sponsorship of 75 countries means the international community rejects continued illegal occupation of territories by foreign forces, from Palestine to Jammu and Kashmir.

Earlier, introducing the resolution in the Committee, Maleeha Lodhi said that self-determination had provided hope to people in their struggle against foreign occupation, a right that had been upheld by all major summits of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The resolution is expected to come up for General Assembly’s endorsement next month.

The text 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.

The resolution 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.

In her remarks, Maleeha Lodhi said that the right to self-determination was a fundamental principle of the United Nations Charter and international law.
“It was the extensive exercise of this right during the latter half of the last century that effectively closed the dark chapter of colonisation and resulted in the emergence of many nation States that are represented here today,” the Pakistani envoy said.

She profusely thanked the co-sponsors for showing their “firm and unwavering commitment to the right to self-determination for all occupied, oppressed and suffering people of the world.”

Under the terms of the resolution, the General 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.

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