People’s international right to self-determination



Geen melding word gemaak dat daar eers wetgewing geskryf en wat ge-implementeer moet word om selfbeskikking te verkry nie.   Die Grondwetregters het dit ook bevestig in 1996 met die uitspraak van die Grondwet dat daar aan internasionale vereistes voldoen moet word en dat die ANC of ander politieke partye nie enige seggenskap oor selfbeskikking van ‘n volk het nie.

VII. RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED ON THE REPORTS OF THE THIRD COMMITTEE
637. The right of peoples and nations to self-determination

 

United Nations Digital Library System

 

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I. THE RIGHT OF SELF-DETERMINATION IN INTERNATIONAL LAW

The first article of the International Covenant on civil and Political Rights, and of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights reads:
“1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

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In the context of the Paris Conference the Wilsonian concept was stated in the “Fourteen Points”, asserting that colonized peoples had a claim to self-determination equal to the claims of established governments:

“A free, open-minded and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined.”

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The future of the non-Turkish territories of the Ottoman Empire was one of the principal issues to be dealt with by the Allied Powers, and here too the Wilsonian idea of self-determination was expressed as follows:     

The Turkish portions of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development …”

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By 1952 the General Assembly had recognized the right of peoples and nations to self-determination as applicable particularly to former League of Nations mandates which still had not achieved independence and were being administered through the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations, as Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories:

Whereas the right of peoples and nations to self-determination is a pre­requisite to the full enjoyment of all fundamental human rights, 

Whereas the Charter of the United Nations, under Articles 1 and 55, aims to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the equal rights and self-determination of peoples in order to strengthen universal peace,

“…

Whereas every Member of the United Nations, in conformity with the Charter, should respect the maintenance of the right of self-determination in other States,

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The General Assembly recommends that:

“1. The States Members of the United Nations shall uphold the principle of self-determination of all peoples and nations;

“2. The States Members of the United Nations shall recognize and promote the realization of the right of self-determination of the peoples of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories who are under their administration and shall facilitate the exercise of this right by the peoples of such Territories according to the principles and spirit of the Charter of the United Nations…

“3. The States Members of the United Nations responsible for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories shall take practical steps, pending the realization of the right of self-determination and in preparation thereof, to ensure the direct participation of the indigenous populations in the legislative and executive organs of government of those Territories, and to prepare them for complete self-government or independence.

“…”  3/

Following consideration of various reports of the Human Rights Commission, presented through the Economic and Social Council, the General Assembly passed the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples which, inter alia, stated that the Assembly:


Declares that:


“1. The subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights, is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and is an impediment to the promotion of world peace and cooperation.

“2. All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

“3. Inadequacy of political, economic, social or educational preparedness should never serve as a pretext for delaying independence.

“4. All armed action or repressive measures of all kinds directed against dependent peoples shall cease in order to enable them to exercise peacefully and freely their right to complete independence, and the integrity of their national territory shall be respected.”


4/

The second paragraph quoted above formed part of the first article of the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of December 1966.*


https://www.un.org/unispal/document/auto-insert-196558/

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2020

Commemoration of 13 years of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

IWGIA and Radio Encuentros commemorate the 13th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations General Assembly and States with an animated video made together with the VCD collective (Videos Created with Drawings).

Although the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted on September 13, 2007 by the UN General Assembly, the process of drafting and negotiating the Declaration dates back to beginning of the 80’s when Indigenous Peoples demanded the elaboration of a UN Declaration that recognized their collective rights including their right to self-determination as distinct peoples.

In 1982, the UN Economic and Social Council established the Working Group on Indigenous Populations (WGIP) One of the mandates provided to the WGIP was to develop minimum standards for the safeguarding of indigenous peoples. One of the uniqueness of the WGIP was that it was open to all representatives of indigenous peoples and their communities and organizations. One of the main demands of Indigenous Peoples was their full participation in the drafting of the Declaration. For the very first time in the UN history the subject of rights directly participated and contributed in the drafting of an international human rights norm.


In 1994, the draft Declaration was ready and passed to the Commission on Human Rights for its adoption. However, the Commission on Human Rights decided that the text needed to be further negotiated by States and decided to establish and Intersessional Working Group, which from 1995 to 2006 negotiated the text. Twelve years passed until a draft declaration was finally adopted at the 1st session of Human Rights Council in June 2006 and considered by the UN General Assembly in September 2006. Unfortunately, the African Group of States expressed concerns and its consideration was postponed.

Finally, in September 2007, the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by an overwhelming majority of UN member Stated at the UN General Assembly with only 4 votes against (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States) Years later the four countries have reversed their position and have publicly expressed their support the UN Declaration.

The adoption of the UNDRIP gave new hope to indigenous peoples as it establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity, well-being and rights of the world’s indigenous peoples. The Declaration addresses both Indigenous Peoples individual and collective rights; cultural rights and identity; rights to education, health, employment, language, and others. It outlaws discrimination against indigenous peoples and promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them. It also recognizes their right to self-determination and to remain distinct from other sectors of society as well as to pursue their own priorities in economic, social and cultural development. This short animated video was produced by IWGIA, Radio Encuentros and VCD, gives an account of the importance of the declaration and the commitments of the States that are still pending since its adoption.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYy7Ds2szWk

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2015

“Taking Action: Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” (2013) is part of an APF training package to support national human rights institutions to work with indigenous communities and better promote and protect their distinctive rights. It features interviews with international experts, indigenous peoples’ organisations and NHRIs from across the Asia Pacific region. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: A Manual for National Human Rights Institutions, published jointly with OHCHR (2013) is available on the APF website.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LHfIcAUEs8

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A

 

Whereas the right of peoples and nations to self-determination is a prerequisite to the full enjoyment of all fundamental human rights,   

Whereas the Charter of the United Nations, under Articles 1 and 55, aims to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the equal rights and self-determination of peoples in order to strengthen universal peace, 

Whereas the Charter of the United Nations recognizes that certain Members of the United Nations are responsible for the administration of Territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government, and affirms the principles which should guide them, 

Whereas every Member of the United Nations, in conformity with the Charter, should respect the maintenance of the right of self-determination in other States,

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The General Assembly recommends that:

1. The States Members of the United Nations shall uphold the principle of self-determination of all peoples and nations;

2. The States Members of the United Nations shall recognize and promote the realization of the right of self-determination of the peoples of Non-Self -Governing and Trust Territories who are under their administration and shall facilitate the exercise of this right by the peoples of such Territories according to the principles and spirit of the Charter of the United Nations in regard to each Territory and to the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned, the wishes of the people being ascertained through plebiscites or other recognized democratic means, preferably under the auspices of the United Nations;

3. The States Members of the United Nations responsible for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories shall take practical steps, pending the realization of the right of self-determination and in preparation thereof, to ensure the direct participation of the indigenous populations in the legislative and executive organs of government of those Territories, and to prepare them for complete self-government or independence.

403rd plenary meeting,
16 December 1952.

B

The General Assembly,

Considering that one of the conditions necessary to facilitate United Nations action to promote respect for the right of self -determination of peoples and nations, in particular with regard to the peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories, is that the competent organs of the United Nations should be in possession of official information on the government of these Territories,

Recalling its resolution 144 (II) of November 1947 in which it declared that the voluntary transmission of such information was entirely in conformity with the spirit of Article 73 of the Charter, and should therefore be encouraged,

Recalling its resolution 327 (IV) of December 1949 in which it expressed the hope that such of the Members of the United Nations as had not done so might voluntarily include details on the government of Non-Self-Governing Territories in the information transmitted by them under Article 73 e of the Charter,

Considering that at the present time such information has not yet been furnished in respect of a large number of Non-Self-Governing Territories,

1. Recommends States Members of the United Nations responsible for the administration of Non-Self-Governing Territories voluntarily to include in the information transmitted by them under Article 73 e of the Charter details regarding the extent to which the right of peoples and nations to self-determination is exercised by the peoples of those Territories, and in particular regarding their political progress and the measures taken to develop their capacity for self-administration, to satisfy their political aspirations and to promote the progressive development of their free political institutions;

2. Decides to place the present resolution on the agenda of the Committee on Information from Non-Self-Governing Territories for its next session in 1953.

403rd plenary meeting,
16 December 1952.

C

The General Assembly,

Considering that it is necessary to continue the study of ways and means of ensuring international respect for the right of peoples to self -determination,

Considering that the recommendations it has adopted at its seventh session do not represent the only steps that can be taken to promote respect for such right,

1. Requests the Economic and Social Council to ask the Commission on Human Rights to continue preparing recommendations concerning international respect for the right of peoples to self-determination, and particularly recommendations relating to the steps which might be taken, within the limits of their resources and competence, by the various organs of the United Nations and the specialized agencies to develop international respect for the right of peoples to self-determination;

2. Requests the Commission on Human Rights to submit through the Economic and Social Council its recommendations to the General Assembly.

403rd plenary meeting,
16 December 1952.



UN General Assembly, The right of peoples and nations to self-determination, 16 December 1952, A/RES/637, available at:

https://www.refworld.org/docid/3b00f0791c.html 

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https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/666117?ln=en

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