The UN Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, has stressed that the continued attention paid to the right of peoples to self-determination on the part of the main bodies of the United Nations and many international human rights mechanisms, emphasized that right remains an issue of central importance to the enjoyment of other human rights, peace and stability.
In a report to the General Assembly on “Universal realization of the right of peoples to self-determination,” the Secretary-General reviewed the developments related to the question of Western Sahara, reaffirming that a just and lasting political solution acceptable to both parties and ensuring self-determination for the people of Western Sahara in accordance with Security Council resolutions would continue to require strong political will on both sides and the international community.
The Secretary-General’s report noted that the denial of access for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to Western Sahara continued to create significant gaps in human rights monitoring in the Territory, and that human rights defenders, researchers, lawyers and representatives of international NGOs also face similar restrictions.
With regard to the Sahrawi question at the level of the Decolonization Committee, the Secretary-General’s report confirmed that the General Assembly had adopted recommendation 75/106, on the question of Western Sahara, in which it expressed its support for the process of negotiations initiated by the Security Council towards a just and lasting political solution acceptable to both parties that would guarantee self-determination for the people of Western Sahara, and commended the Secretary-General’s efforts and welcomed the commitment of the parties to continue to demonstrate political will and work in an atmosphere conducive to dialogue in order to move to a new phase of intensive negotiations, in good faith and without preconditions.
The Secretary-General’s report confirmed that the General Assembly, in its resolution 75/103, had reaffirmed the right of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories to self-determination, the right to enjoy their natural resources and the right to dispose of those resources in their best interests, and called upon all Governments and organizations of the United Nations system to take all possible measures to ensure that the permanent sovereignty of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories over their natural resources is fully respected and fully preserved, in accordance with the relevant matter United Nations resolutions on decolonization.