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Subject: Conf on Self-determination report
Date: Wed, 02 Dec 1998 09:57:54 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <>


 27 November, 1998 from

Betreff: Conlcusions on Self determination and Conflict prevention Datum: Freitag, 27. November 1998 21:07

The participants to the expert international Conference on


reached the following CONCLUSIONS after extensive and profound debate:

The principle and fundamental right to self-determination of all peoples is firmly established in international law, including human rights law, and must be applied equally and universally.

The peaceful implementation of the right to self-determination in its broad sense is a key contribution to the prevention and resolution of conflicts, especially those which involve contending interests of existing states and peoples, including indigenous peoples, and minority communities. In this respect it is important to understand self-determination as an ongoing process of choice for the achievement of human security and fulfillment of human needs with a broad scope of possible outcomes and expressions suited to different specific situations. These can include, but are not limited to, guarantees of cultural security, forms of self-governance and autonomy, economic self-reliance, effective participation at the international level, land 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.

Self-determination is achieved by fully participatory democratic processes among the people who are seeking the realisation of self-determination, including referenda where appropriate. Effective prevention of conflicts must be pro-active and requires immediate and committed action. It is imperative to prevent all actions by any relevant actors, which include governments, international and other organizations, individuals and corporations, which may result in the denial of the exercise of the right to self-determination, such as demographic aggression or manipulation, cultural assimilation and the destruction of the natural environment of importance to the survival of peoples.

The development of a universal sense of respect for cultural and national diversity and a deeper understanding of self-determination is essential to the promotion of peace in all parts of the world. In order to foster this culture of self-determination, special attention should be given to the potential positive role of the media and to the development of self-determination education and its inclusion in human rights education.


The Conference recommends

To the United Nations:

to pro-actively engage itself in the prevention and resolution of conflicts involving states and peoples or minority communities. In doing so the United Nations should respect and promote the implementation of self-determination in the broad sense affirmed by this conference, as a means to advance peace with justice;

to create an effective mechanism within the United Nations to assist in the resolution of self-determination claims and conflicts;

to create a permanent forum of peoples within the United Nations system which would have consultative status with the UN.


to undertake further work on the right to self-determination and to consider preparing special publications on the subject;

to place special emphasis on the positive role of self-determination within the framework of its programmes of the culture of peace, democratisation and cultural pluralism and to incorporate this in UNESCO´s national programs of culture of peace and reconciliation.

To Intergovernmental and Regional Organisations:

To place self-determination on the agenda of those organizations and to take account of the work of the United Nations on the rights of indigenous peoples and include them in their activities.

To Non-governmental Organisations:

To promote the right to self-determination, support those peoples struggling for its implementation and to raise specific cases before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and other appropriate fora.


To promote the utilization of existing mechanisms of the United Nations and other organizations to promote a better understanding and broader application of the right to self-determination in an effort to promote peace and justice and, in particular,

- to raise the question of self-determination and the issues discussed at this and future conferences at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

- in order to build on and continue the work of this Conference, to create an expert working group on self-determination which would meet every year before the discussion by the UN Commission on Human Rights of its agenda item relating to self-determination.

To organise regional meetings on self-determination and related subjects.

To explore the possibility of publishing a periodical publication on self-determination and legitimacy of states.

To create an E-mail list of the conference participants to maintain communication among them on developments in the field of self-determination and to exchange useful documents on the subject.

These Conclusions and Recommendations will be transmitted to the Secretary General of the United Nations, the Director General of UNESCO, the Chairperson of the UN Commission on Human Rights, the Chairperson of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations, and will be published as part of the final report of the Conference.

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