NEW YORK—The UN General Assembly’s Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) passed a draft that would have the Assembly adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. This vote assures that the Declaration will enter the next edition of Human Rights: A Compilation of International Instruments.
The resolution A/C.3/73/L.30 passed by a recorded vote of 119 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Hungary, Israel, New Zealand, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States), with 49 abstentions, the draft generated debate over whether the declaration would create categories for individuals who merit special treatment in the international human rights framework. Several took issue with such references to collective rights and the right to seeds on which there is no international agreement.
The Committee adopted A/C.3/73/L.54 on self-determination as a universal right of peoples and nations, expressing deep concern at “continuation of acts or threats of foreign military intervention and occupation that are threatening to suppress, or have already suppressed, the right to self-determination of peoples and nations.”
The resolution, sponsored by 34 states, deplored the related plight of millions of refugees and displaced persons by such acts, and reaffirms their right to return to their homes voluntarily in safety and with honour; requested the Human Rights Council to continue special attention to violations of human rights, especially the right to self-determination, resulting from foreign military intervention, aggression or occupation; and requested the Secretary-General to report on this question to the General Assembly at its seventy-fourth session under the item entitled “Right of peoples to self-determination.”
The resolution, tabled by Pakistan was adopted without a vote and cosponsored by 34 states. USA, Israel and Morocco were not among them.
In addition, the Committee adopted resolution A/C.3/73/L. 29 reaffirming the inalienable right of self-determination of the Palestinian people, noting, in particular, the position of the International Court of Justice, reminding States that Palestinians’ the right to self-determination is a right erga omnes, meaning that all Member states of the UN—and even non-Member states—bear the legal obligation to ensure realization of that right, including the right to an independent state.
Photo on front page: Farmer fertilizing his field in the Mishkab region of Iraq. Source: AFP. Photo on this page: Overhead screen showing the outcome of the vote on draft resolution A/C.3/73/L.30, adopting the UN Peasants’ Rights Declaration. (Click to enlarge.)