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Busdachin’s Speech on “Self-Determination Right in International Law”

( Mr. Marino Busdachin:

   appointed as Executive Director in 2003, unanimously elected as UNPO General Secretary in 2005, served as UN representative in Geneva, New York and Vienna 1995-2000, member of the Extra-ordinary Executive Board of the Transnational Radical Party 2000-2002, currently a member of the General Council of TRP. founded the NGO “Non c’e’ Pace Senza Giustizia” in Italy 1994-1999, as well as founding and serving as President of No Peace Without Justice USA 1995-2000, campaigned for the establishment of the International Criminal Court, represented Civil Society at the Rome Conference founding ICC. Worked to establish the ad hoc tribunals on war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and campaign on the death penalty in the United Nations from USA in 1993, led the TRP to recognition by the UN as an NGO of the first category, led and coordinated the TRP in the former Yugoslavia 1991-1993 and in the Soviet Union 1989-1993, campaigned for civil rights in Italy in the 1980s, elected in 1974 as a member of the Federal Council of the Radical Party, between 1978-1982 elected member of the City Council of Trieste, where he attended Law University ) .

   By the International Symposium: "The Right to Self-determination in International Law" held in The Hague during 29 September – 1 October 2006,General Secretary of the UNPO, Marino Busdachin, emphasised the need for action, in addition to word and sentiment. Mr. Busdachin brought a number of practical proposals to the Symposium, all aimed at addressing the disparity between those rights enshrined in international law and the reality faced by unrepresented peoples everywhere.

General-Secretary Mr. Busdachin's speech in detail is as follow:

   The subject of this conference seems to be especially important for the international community. It is fulfilling a major gap in the last years on analysing and debating the major question of the right to self-determination and its place in the context of the wider purposes of International Law.

   Major conferences and studies in the 1990s found undoubtedly that the right to self-determination is conferred on peoples by international law itself and not by states. And, following, that its exercise must be given content in an International Law system of guarantees.

   Nevertheless this argument is poorly considered in practice and the principles not implemented.

   Territorial integrity and self-determination, two major principles enshrined in the UN Charter and as in documents such as the Helsinki Final Act in 1975, are still and constantly in conflict.

   In the post-9/11 environment, the situation has deteriorated.

   Of the over 60 armed conflicts within states active around the world a large part of them have, directly or indirectly, the issue of the denial of the right to self-determination as a key to the divergence.

   Too many peoples and communities are denied basic cultural, civil and political rights. Cultural repression, the denial of the rights of peoples, political oppression and marginalization, and lack of democracy are causes of major insecurity.

   Too frequently the right to self-determination is viewed naively as a rigid choice between all or nothing, between recognising and independent state or total denial of a cultural and political identity.

   Our work should be addressed to the broadest grey zone between the two extremes.

   Jean Monnet, the driving force behind the creation of the European Union never ceased to remark that “when you have a problem you cannot solve, enlarge the context.”

   This is exactly what happened in the process of rebuilding Europe after the World War II, more than fifty years ago.

   In the present world and in the current international context, deeply and heavily marked by interdependency between states or association of states, the right to self-determination, as with the principle of sovereignty and border sanctity, needs to be put under discussion, reconsidered and differently evaluated.

   The world’s nearly 200 countries contain some 5,000 ethnic groups. Two thirds have substantial minorities and indigenous peoples; ethnic and religious groups; as well as occupied countries or oppressed peoples. Often at least 10% of the population of countries consist of these groups and oppressed peoples.

   In a global world, territorial intrastate conflicts increasingly challenge international peace, security, and the promotion of democracy.

   It deprives millions of peoples of their basic human rights.

   In this new world the principle of, and the right to, self-determination acquires a new dimension within the interactive corpus of democracy, development and peace.

   The Human rights exegesis has to adapt to these contemporary challenges, e.g. by considering an adjusted approach to the concept of self-determination in a more broad sense. An “ongoing process of choice in order to achieve, in different specific situations, guarantees of cultural security, form of self-governance and autonomy, economic self-reliance, effective participation at the international level, lands rights and the ability to care for the natural environment, spiritual freedom and the various forms that ensure the free _expression and protection of collective identity in dignity as a fundamental people’s rights.” [reference?]

   It is an absolute necessity to reaffirm that it is not the right to self-determination that ignites and fuels conflicts, but on the contrary, that it is the very denial of this right, which is firmly enshrined in international law and human rights law, which increases the global turmoil and the general disastrous mess.

   For over 20 years the UN system has produced a serious study and reliable debate on self-determination. It has become evident that the work is conceptually inadequate to address these new forms of self-determination.

   We need to act, in order to produce a reformulation or broadening of the idea that the process of self-determination would and could contribute to conflict prevention and resolution.

   If not the right to self- determination will remain just a trap. As it has been for too many years and in too many dire situations.

   In this way, the officially adopted Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples, and I underline that it has never become an universally accepted document, should start a process and should become an important segment of an international system of guarantees of international law.

   This happened with the establishment of the International Criminal Court, which is working on crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes operating on the key on the principle of complementarity and having international jurisdiction. It was established after the UN Diplomatic Conference in Rome in 1998 and is ratified today by over 100 countries around the world as an International Treaty.

   Distinguished panellist, dear friends,

   According to UN figures, there are more than 300 million indigenous people in the world, disseminated among some 6.000 indigenous communities. They are generally discriminated against and treated as second-class citizens, live in the poorest conditions, outcast from decent education, devoid of political rights on matters that affects them.

   In more appropriate terms, they are simply denied to be themselves.

   The quest for justice and equal rights is growing, and growing yet again.

   There has been some progress in international standard-setting and monitoring of respect for minority and indigenous rights, but substantially, much work remains to be done.

   The equal guarantee to enjoy all human rights represents a key element in international human rights law, but still details and specifics of substance are missing or clearly insufficient. And this is as true for individual rights as group rights.

   An urgent call for the establishment of judicial procedures for matching the standards is needed.

   At present time, many peoples live under alien domination or domestic oppression. Stateless nations, ethnic groups split between different States and a very long list of violent ethnic conflicts ravages the world and crowd international agendas.


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