The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and United Kingdom Law

By David Harris; Sarah Joseph | Go to book overview

3
The Right of Self-determination
ROBERT MCCORQUODALE
ARTICLE 1
1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
2. All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its means of subsistence.
3. The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self- Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.

INTRODUCTION

Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (the Covenant) protects the right of self-determination of peoples and is the only substantive right protected in both International Human Rights Covenants.1 It appears as the first Article of both Covenants and is the only provision contained in Part 1. This pre-eminent position has been explained by the Human Rights Committee (the Committee):

the right of self-determination is of particular importance because its realization is an essential condition for the effective guarantee and observance of individual human rights and for the promotion and strengthening of those rights. It is for that reason that States set forth the right of self-determination in a provision of positive law in both Covenants and placed this provision as article 1 apart from and before all of the other rights in the two Covenants.2

____________________
1
Art. 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights is identical to Art. I of the Covenant.
2
General Comment 12, para. 1.

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