Full speech from Alfred De Zayas, UN Expert with a High Commissioner of Human Rights mandate for “an equitable and democratic International order“, at the first demonstration ever for the Free Territory of Trieste in Geneva, Switzerland, organised by TRIEST NGO at Place des Nations (UN), on September 15 2017.
This speech touches many fundamental themes, from the right to see International treaties applied, to the issue of censorship of this question by the media.
While thanking all those who cooperated with us and helped us so far, we hope that the support to this cause, which involves the whole population, will continue to be as proactive as it has been until now, in order to work together towards the completion of our State.
And a section of International Order is, of course, the right to self‐determination, the right to sovereignty and the right to decide. The right to decide your future.
More and more the practice of conducting referenda has been recognised in the world; I have proposed to the Secretary General that the office take a more proactive approach towards referenda, and organise referenda in those places where the people clearly want to have a decision on their status.
Sempre più spesso la pratica di condurre referendum è stata riconosciuta nel mondo; io ho proposto al Segretario Generale che la sua carica adotti un approccio più proattivo sui referendum, ed organizzi referendum in quei posti dove le persone pretendono di decidere sul loro status.
Another element of International Law is the obligation of all States to respect treaties! Among those treaties that have to be respected is the peace treaty of 1947.
And it is remarkable how certain treaties are put in the drawer: the drawer is closed, locked, and nobody talks about it anymore. And I have brought it up, and I intend to continue bringing it up, because it’s an open issue, and I think you have the right that this issue [should] be discussed publicly.
The United Nations, unfortunately, usually comes too late in organising referenda, in organising referendum in East Timor, in organising referendum in Sudan, in organising referendum in Ethiopia and Eritrea… all of these referenda should have been held decades earlier, and the people would have been a lot happier.
Now, in your case, the problem is more complex, because nobody knows anything about your situation!
The media more or less systematically ignores the question of Trieste. This is not only a problem of Trieste, it is the problem of many other peoples who are hoping that the United Nations would listen to them. That’s why this demonstration that you’re holding is important. You did well, in coming here to bring your concerns before the United Nations, and I promise I will be using whatever material I receive from the leadership, and I will be transmitting it to the Secretary General.
I know how to be giving long speeches, so I am not going to bore you with a long speech or a lecture on the elements of self‐determination: I wrote an entire report to the General Assembly, of 28 pages with 125 footnotes, on self‐determination and 15 criterias of who can demand it and how. So I won’t do that to you.
All I want to say is that I am here in solidarity with your concerns.
You have legitimate concerns that should be heard publicly, we are here to listen to you, and I encourage you in bringing to the United Nations and to the European Union your concerns. I assure you, there are plenty of people with good faith, that if they know your case, they will support it.
I thank you.
This page is also available in: Italian