UN adopts resolution on self-determination
21 November 2003
UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday adopted a resolution on the realization of the peoples' right to self- determination. The resolution adopted, with 88 votes for and three against (India, Mauritius and Bhutan), was seen as a victory for Palestinians and Kashmiris, who are struggling for their right to self-determination. India opposed the resolution, which for the last 12 years was adopted with consensus, with India voting for it. Some 30 countries sponsored the resolution. By adopting the resolution, the UN General Assembly declared its firm opposition to the acts of foreign military intervention, aggression and occupation, since those acts have resulted in the suppression of the right of self- determination. The assembly called upon those states responsible to cease immediately their military intervention in, and occupation of foreign countries and territories and all acts of repression, discrimination and maltreatment. Addressing the assembly, Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations Munir Akram observed 'A vote for this principle was not a vote in favour of any issue. It was a vote for the principle involved, a principle central to the United Nations Charter and the basis for the existence of the UN. It was not Pakistan's intention to introduce polemics or controversy with India in the context of the resolution. Pakistan had introduced this resolution for almost 12 years.' He said 'It was a matter of record that over the years, Pakistan had mentioned Palestine, Namibia and also Kashmir in its statements related to the resolution. What happened this year was that the context had been changed, and polemics was introduced by India. 'What changed was that India felt it could bully the United Nations and bully Pakistan into halting its advocacy of the cause of Kashmir. Pakistan would continue to support Kashmir, whether other delegations supported it or not.' India launched a massive diplomatic campaign to oppose the resolution, immediately after the resolution was sponsored some two weeks ago. It lobbied member states to vote against it, saying that 'some of the references made by Pakistan, on behalf of the co- sponsors, challenged and threatened the territorial integrity of India. It was therefore clear that for Pakistan the universal right of people to self-determination was a mere excuse to pursue its own political agenda'. Explaining the American abstention, the United States delegate explained that Washington believed that the best solution would be a mutual resolution of issues between India and Pakistan, taking into account the interests of all parties.