Decolonizing One Petition at the Time
A Review of the Practice of Accepting Petitions and Granting Oral Hearings in the Fourth Committee of the UN General Assembly
Keywords:decolonization, Fourth Committee, petitions, revitalization of the General Assembly, United Nations
The Fourth Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations has extensively used the instrument of petitions as a tool of inquiry on Non-Self-Governing Territories (NSGTs). Despite a surge in recent years in the number of petitioners speaking on behalf of NSGTs, there has been no detailed investigation of the practice accepting petitions and granting oral hearings in the Committee. This study fills a gap in the literature by defining the legal framework and the shortcomings of the practice. It raises important questions about the usefulness of petitions as a tool of inquiry, and it shows how this practice has introduced a double standard on human rights within the UN system and created legal imbalances among member states of the Fourth Committee.
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