October 10, 2006
Consequent to the recently concluded Symposium on “Self-Determination in International Law”, held in
"The Hague Declaration” has now been presented to the Secretary General of the United Nations, H.E. Kofi Annan, the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Mark Malloch Brown, as well as to the Heads of every Permanent Mission to the United Nations in
In his communications, UNPO General Secretary Marino Busdachin noted a number of the Symposium’s major conclusions which led to the final form of “The Hague Declaration”, including the significance of the UN Human Rights Council’s recent adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He also reflected the Symposium’s emphasis on how thoroughly embedded a universal and fundamental right to self-determination is in prevailing international law, including; the UN Charter; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
With this in mind, and recognising that contemporary times are characterised by an increasingly interdependent world, and a consequent trend towards considering democracy as a fundamental human right closely tied to the non-violent process of self-determination, the Symposium emphasised the present and urgent need to re-define and re-consider the notion of self-determination.
To this end, the Symposium unanimously approved and adopted a Declaration calling on the United Nations, International Organisations, and National and Regional Parliaments, to take action in order to revise the self-determination agenda.
- On the Right to Self-Determination -
Bearing in mind the positive development of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including its Article 3, by the Human Rights Council;
The participants of The Hague Symposium underline that the principle and fundamental right to self-determination of all peoples, as enshrined in the UN Charter, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and as firmly established in International Law, should be enjoyed universally without any distinctions.
The increasing recognition of cultural and national diversity and identities is linked to a better understanding of self-determination in all its aspects and is essential to the promotion of justice, peace and freedom worldwide. Without this realisation, self-determination may continue to generate false expectations and illusions that can lead a just cause into an unnecessary and dangerous “trap”.
The development of the right to self-determination and its feasible and possible applications is closely linked to the full participatory democratic processes, respect of rule of law and the bill of rights.
In International Law, the right to self-determination has only been taken into consideration as the external right to self-determination in a few defined and insufficient cases, such as the decolonisation process, disintegration of federative states, and ending of a military occupation of one state by another state.
The right to self-determination can now start to be considered as “in conformity with principles of International Law, as it develops”. This opens up a process to revise the entire matter from a different perspective and in a broader context, taking into account the increasing acknowledgement of interdependence around the globe.
Indigenous peoples must no longer be discriminated against in relation to other peoples or nations. In the absence of universal rules and their consequent applications, a just and fair solution has to be found for each specific and particular case.
Participants at the Symposium call upon;
the United Nations General Assembly to adopt the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
the United Nations to reconsider and revise the principles and procedures related to sovereignty and self-determination and establish an ad-hoc committee with the main duty to deal with issues of implementation and practical consequences of self-determination in new situations that arise after the decolonization process;
Intergovernmental and Regional Organisations to guarantee the indigenous peoples and minorities participation with observer status;
National Parliaments to endorse and adopt a resolution to enlarge and improve the equalisation of human, civil and political rights of indigenous peoples and minorities, to call upon the International Organisations for the equalisation of rights in an international law system of guarantees; and
National and Regional Parliaments to allow for hearing procedures with peoples concerned with a view to adopting and endorsing resolutions.