International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (IHRAAM) organised a panel discussion “Democratic Despotism and Crimes Violations of Self-Determination” on the sidelines of the 43rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva.
The panelists, in a lively interaction, detailed the Kashmir dispute, Alaska and Hawaii, referencing other cases in the world where the right to self-determination is denied and suppressed, when in fact it could be used as a conflict prevention strategy.
Prof Alfred de Zayas, First UN Independent Expert for the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, said that in 2013, he presented a report to the UN General Assembly discussing issues of self-determination including Jammu and Kashmir, and the matter should be taken seriously and that they should adopt appropriate resolutions and send the case to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion.
He referred to and endorsed the reports of the UN High Commissioner for human rights situation in occupied Kashmir, saying there is an urgent need to address the past and ongoing human rights violations and to deliver justice for all people in Kashmir.
Prof De Zayas concluded by endorsing the right to self-determination of various peoples around the globe, as specified in his report to the United Nations General Assembly, commonly known as 69(n), assessing that the source of the problem is in the violation of that right, emphasising that realisation of self-determination is a conflict prevention strategy.
Ambassador Ronald Barnes of Alaska (IPNC) discussed the legal and technical facets of the right to self-determination for nations including Alaska. He described the role of the United States in suppressing indigenous voices of the Alaskan International Commission for Human Rights.—KMS