23 August 2016

Turks & Caicos Islands should have a constitution which "reflects the aspirations and wishes of its people" - U.N. Committee


adopted by the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation 

Question of the Turks and Caicos Islands


Question of the Turks and Caicos Islands


          The General Assembly,

          Having considered the question of the Turks and Caicos Islands,

          Having examined the relevant chapter of the report of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples for 2016, related to the Turks and Caicos Islands,[1]

          Taking note of the working paper prepared by the Secretariat on the Turks and Caicos Islands[2] and other relevant information,

          Recognizing that all available options for self-determination of the Territory are valid as long as they are in accordance with the freely expressed wishes of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands and in conformity with the clearly defined principles contained in General Assembly resolutions 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960, 1541 (XV) of 15 December 1960 and other resolutions of the Assembly,

          Expressing concern that 56 years after the adoption of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples,[3] there still remain 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories, including the Turks and Caicos Islands,

          Conscious of the importance of continuing the effective implementation of the Declaration, taking into account the target set by the United Nations to eradicate colonialism by 2020 and the plans of action for the Second[4] and Third International Decades for the Eradication of Colonialism,

          Recognizing that the specific characteristics and the aspirations of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands require flexible, practical and innovative approaches to the options for self-determination, without any prejudice to territorial size, geographical location, size of population or natural resources,

          Convinced that the wishes and aspirations of the people of the Territory should continue to guide the development of their future political status and that referendums, free and fair elections and other forms of popular consultation play an important role in ascertaining the wishes and aspirations of the people,

          Concerned by the use and exploitation of the natural resources of the Non-Self-Governing Territories by the administering Powers for their benefit, by the use of the Territories as tax havens to the detriment of the world economy and by the consequences of any economic activities of the administering Powers that are contrary to the interests of the people of the Territories, as well as to resolution 1514 (XV),

          Convinced that any negotiations to determine the status of the Territory must take place with the active involvement and participation of the people of the Territory, under the auspices of the United Nations, on a case-by-case basis, and that the views of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands in respect of their right to self-determination should be ascertained,

          Noting the continued cooperation of the Non-Self-Governing Territories at the local and regional levels, including participation in the work of regional organizations,

          Mindful that, in order for the Special Committee to enhance its understanding of the political status of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands and to fulfil its mandate effectively, it is important for it to be apprised by the administering Power and to receive information from other appropriate sources, including the representatives of the Territory, concerning the wishes and aspirations of the people of the Territory,

          Aware of the importance both to the Turks and Caicos Islands and to the Special Committee of the participation of elected and appointed representatives of the Turks and Caicos Islands in the work of the Committee,

          Recognizing the need for the Special Committee to ensure that the appropriate bodies of the United Nations actively pursue a public awareness campaign aimed at assisting the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands with their inalienable right to self-determination and in gaining a better understanding of the options for self-determination, on a case-by-case basis,

          Mindful, in that connection, that the holding of regional seminars in the Caribbean and Pacific regions and at Headquarters, with the active participation of representatives of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, provides a helpful means for the Special Committee to fulfil its mandate and that the regional nature of the seminars, which alternate between the Caribbean and the Pacific, is a crucial element in the context of a United Nations programme for ascertaining the political status of the Territories,

          Welcoming the Pacific regional seminar held by the Special Committee in Managua and hosted by the Government of Nicaragua from 31 May to 2 June 2016 as a significant and forward-looking event, which enabled the participants to assess the progress made in the decolonization process and to review the existing working methods of the Committee and renew its momentum in implementing its historic task,

          Recognizing the importance of the conclusions and recommendations adopted by the seminar, which are annexed to the report of the Special Committee[5] and which outline the findings of the seminar, including, especially, the way forward for the decolonization process within the context of the proclamation by the General Assembly of the period 2011-2020 as the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism,[6]

          Noting with appreciation the contribution to the development of some Territories by the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system, in particular the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Food Programme, as well as regional institutions such as the Caribbean Development Bank, the Caribbean Community, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, the Pacific Islands Forum and the agencies of the Council of Regional Organizations in the Pacific,

          Taking note of the statement made by the representative of the Turks and Caicos Islands at the Caribbean regional seminar held in Managua from 19 to 21 May 2015,

          Recalling the dispatch of the United Nations special mission to the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2006 at the request of the territorial Government and with the concurrence of the administering Power,

          Noting the decision of the administering Power to suspend parts of the Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution Order 2006, the subsequent presentation of a draft constitution for public consultation in 2011 and the introduction of a new constitution for the Territory, as well as the election of a new territorial Government in 2012,

          Noting also that the administering Power, after careful consideration, did not accept the recommendations of the 2014 report of the Constitutional Review Committee, which was submitted to and considered by the House of Assembly, on the grounds that the Constitution Order 2011 was key to ensuring that the Turks and Caicos Islands continued to meet internationally recognized standards of good governance, the rule of law and sound financial management,

          Recalling that, in March 2014, the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community received an update on the situation in the Turks and Caicos Islands, which they will continue to monitor, and that they expressed their support for the full restoration of democracy in the Territory on terms driven by its people,

          Noting the 2009 suspension of the Constitution Order 2006, which abolished the democratically elected House of Assembly and the Cabinet, and the subsequent institution of direct rule exercised by the administering Power for a period of three years, and taking note of the provision of a new Constitution Order in 2012, as well as the election held in the Territory in 2012, and of the endorsement by the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community of the report of the Community’s fact-finding mission to the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2013, which called for, inter alia, a referendum on self-determination and a mechanism for amending the constitution,


          1.       Reaffirms the inalienable right of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands to self-determination, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and with General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV), containing the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples;

          2.       Also reaffirms that, in the process of decolonization of the Turks and Caicos Islands, there is no alternative to the principle of self-determination, which is also a fundamental human right, as recognized under the relevant human rights conventions;

          3.       Further reaffirms that it is ultimately for the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands to determine freely their future political status in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter, the Declaration and the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, and in that connection calls upon the administering Power, in cooperation with the territorial Government and appropriate bodies of the United Nations system, to develop political education programmes for the Territory in order to foster an awareness among the people of their right to self-determination in conformity with the legitimate political status options, based on the principles clearly defined in Assembly resolution 1541 (XV) and other relevant resolutions and decisions;

          4.       Reiterates its support for the full restoration of democracy in the Territory and for the work of the Constitutional Review Committee in that regard, and notes the efforts of the administering Power to restore good governance, including through the introduction in 2011 of a new constitution and the holding of elections in November 2012, and sound financial management in the Territory;

          5.       Takes note of the positions and repeated calls of the Caribbean Community and the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries in support of a democratically elected territorial Government and of the full restoration of democracy in the Territory as decided by its people;

          6.       Notes the continuing debate on constitutional reform within the Territory, and stresses the importance of participation by all groups and interested parties in the consultation process;

          7.       Stresses the importance of having in place in the Territory a constitution that reflects the aspirations and wishes of its people, based on the mechanisms for popular consultation;

          8.       Requests the administering Power to assist the Territory by facilitating its work concerning public outreach efforts, consistent with Article 73 b of the Charter, and in that regard calls upon the relevant United Nations organizations to provide assistance to the Territory, if requested;

          9.       Welcomes the active participation of the Territory in the work of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean;

          10.     Also welcomes the continuing efforts made by the territorial Government addressing the need for attention to be paid to the enhancement of socioeconomic development across the Territory;

          11.     Stresses the importance of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples being apprised of the views and wishes of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands and enhancing its understanding of their conditions, including the nature and scope of the existing political and constitutional arrangements between the Turks and Caicos Islands and the administering Power;

          12.     Calls upon the administering Power to participate in and cooperate fully with the work of the Special Committee in order to implement the provisions of Article 73 e of the Charter and the Declaration and in order to advise the Committee on the implementation of the provisions under Article 73 b of the Charter on efforts to promote self-government in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and encourages the administering Power to facilitate visiting and special missions to the Territory;  

          13.     Reaffirms the responsibility of the administering Power under the Charter to promote the economic and social development and to preserve the cultural identity of the Territory, and requests the administering Power to take steps to enlist and make effective use of all possible assistance, on both a bilateral and a multilateral basis, in the strengthening of the economies of the Territory;

          14.     Takes into account the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals,[7] stresses the importance of fostering the economic and social sustainable development of the Territory by promoting sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth, creating greater opportunities for all, reducing inequalities, raising basic standards of living, fostering equitable social development and inclusion and promoting the integrated and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems that supports, inter alia, economic, social and human development, while facilitating ecosystem conservation, regeneration, restoration and resilience in the face of new and emerging challenges, and strongly urges the administering Power to refrain from undertaking any kind of illicit, harmful and unproductive activities, including the use of the Territory as a tax haven, that are not aligned with the interest of the people of the Territory;

          15.     Requests the Territory and the administering Power to take all measures necessary to protect and conserve the environment of the Territory against any degradation, and once again requests the specialized agencies concerned to monitor environmental conditions in the Territory and to provide assistance to the Territory, consistent with their prevailing rules of procedure;

          16.     Requests the Special Committee to continue to examine the question of the Turks and Caicos Islands and to report thereon to the General Assembly at its seventy-second session and on the implementation of the present resolution.
 



         [1] Official Records of the General Assembly, Seventy-first Session, Supplement No. 23 (A/71/23), chap. X.
         [2] A/AC.109/2016/15.
         [3] Resolution 1514 (XV).
         [4] A/56/61, annex.
         [5] Official Records of the General Assembly, Seventy-first Session, Supplement No. 23 (A/71/23).
         [6] See resolution 65/119.
         [7] Resolution 70/1.

Kanak human rights defender joins the ancestors




Susanna Ounei was a significant figure in Kanak independence movement. She also played a significant role in the Mori sovereignty movement in New Zealand in the 1980s as an inspiring speaker at many hui. A passionate and committed activist she is mourned …Tribute to Kanak independence activist Susanna Ounei

Susanna Ounei was a significant figure in Kanak independence movement. She also played a significant role in the Māori sovereignty movement in New Zealand in the 1980s as an inspiring speaker at many hui. A passionate and committed activist she is mourned by family, friends and those who met her in passing.

Susanna Ounei first came to New Zealand in early 1984 to learn English, after losing her job in Noumea because of her involvement in the Kanak independence movement. She was sponsored by CORSO and the YWCA and later involved in projects with them. In 1986 she married New Zealander David Small who became a Canterbury University academic in after completing a PhD in Education in 1994 on the politics of colonial education in New Caledonia. In 1997 their marriage broke down and Susanna remained on the island of Ouvea in New Caledonia until returning to Wellington with her two adoptive children in 2000.

“Born in 1945, Susanna Ounei got involved as a young woman with the Red Scarves, a radical group formed in 1969, advocating for independence from France for Kanaky New Caledonia. (I remember her telling me she worked in the bank at the time, and because she had a salary she was often feeding and bailing out her comrades!) As the movement evolved from a Front Indépendiste into the FLNKS (Front de Libération National Kanak et Socialiste), she became a voice not just for independence and socialism but also for gender justice in Kanaky.

Her activism extended into the wider Pacific through her engagements with both the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP) movement and the Pacific women’s movement. She attended the UN’s Third Conference on Women in Nairobi in 1985 where she met one of her inspirations, Angela Y. Davis for the first time. (They would next meet 22 years later in Wellington, New Zealand, when Davis–who was one of my PhD advisors–was on a speaking tour).

The 1980s in Kanaky New Caledonia saw a number of traumatizing events, including the massacre by French settlers of 10 Kanaks at Hienghène and the murder of independence leader Eloi Machoro by police in 1984, the massacre by gendarmerie of 19 Kanaks on Ouvea in 1988, and the assassinations of independence leaders Jean Marie Tjibaou and Yiewene Yiewene by fellow nationalist, Djubelly Wea, who was also killed in the fracas. The 1980s were also when Susanna had a period of residence in Aotearoa New Zealand, completing a degree in Sociology at the University of Canterbury, and writing and publishing influential pieces on Kanak independence.

In the 1990s the secretariat of the NFIP, the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre, was relocated from Auckland, New Zealand to Suva, Fiji and Susanna was appointed to its decolonization desk. This is when I first met her. During that time she was actively involved in organizing and galvanizing Pacific women for the UN Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. The period of the late 1990s also saw France invest heavily in New Caledonia in an effort to subvert the nationalist movement.

Dismayed by what she saw as the co-optation of the will to independence in her homeland, Susanna Ounei lived in voluntary exile in Wellington for the past sixteen years, raising two children as a solo parent, battling with health problems and yearning for her homeland of Kanaky/New Caledonia the whole time.

My friendship with Susanna really intensified during this period in Wellington. When she was well she attended seminars and conferences that we held at the university, and in the early days gave guest lectures to some of my Pacific Studies classes. She was the first person outside of my family to discern that I was pregnant with Vaitoa in 2002, and in 2006 she helped me find a beautiful beaded second hand top to wear for my wedding. Her official birthdate is August 15 (although she learned later in life that this may have been an error), so a couple of times we celebrated our August birthdays together, and at least one of those times was with Claire Slatter.

With her two children Jessie Ounei and Touie Jymmy Jinsokuna Burēdo Ounei now grown and raising families of their own, she often talked about moving back to Kanaky to lend a hand to the struggle…especially as more and more of her former comrades began to pass away.

While in Wellington, Susanna never failed to join her voice to movements for justice–from tino rangatiratanga/Māori sovereignty, to anti-corporate globalization, a Free West Papua and a Free Palestine. You could be sure to see her in public demonstrations of solidarity with anyone under attack from the state, like the 18 activists and their communities targeted in the 2007 New Zealand Terror Raids and the Waihopai Spy Base protesters of 2008.

Susanna was an awe-inspiring figure whose kindness and generosity I was privileged to receive and whose fury I have also survived. She was a true Warrior Woman.”


21 August 2016

U.N. Committee reaffirms Anguilla right to self-determination


 Resolution 

adopted by the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation

Question of Anguilla
        


          The General Assembly,

          Having considered the question of Anguilla,

          Having examined the relevant chapter of the report of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples for 2016, related to Anguilla,[1]

          Taking note of the working paper prepared by the Secretariat on Anguilla[2] and other relevant information,

          Recognizing that all available options for self-determination of the Territory are valid as long as they are in accordance with the freely expressed wishes of the people of Anguilla and in conformity with the clearly defined principles contained in General Assembly resolutions 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960, 1541 (XV) of 15 December 1960 and other resolutions of the Assembly,

          Expressing concern that 56 years after the adoption of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples,[3] there still remain 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories, including Anguilla,

          Conscious of the importance of continuing the effective implementation of the Declaration, taking into account the target set by the United Nations to eradicate colonialism by 2020 and the plans of action for the Second[4] and Third International Decades for the Eradication of Colonialism,

          Recognizing that the specific characteristics and the aspirations of the people of Anguilla require flexible, practical and innovative approaches to the options for self-determination, without any prejudice to territorial size, geographical location, size of population or natural resources,

          Convinced that the wishes and aspirations of the people of the Territory should continue to guide the development of their future political status and that referendums, free and fair elections and other forms of popular consultation play an important role in ascertaining the wishes and aspirations of the people,

          Concerned by the use and exploitation of the natural resources of the Non-Self-Governing Territories by the administering Powers for their benefit, by the use of the Territories as tax havens to the detriment of the world economy and by the consequences of any economic activities of the administering Powers that are contrary to the interests of the people of the Territories, as well as to resolution 1514 (XV),

          Convinced that any negotiations to determine the status of the Territory must take place with the active involvement and participation of the people of the Territory, under the auspices of the United Nations, on a case-by-case basis, and that the views of the people of Anguilla in respect of their right to self-determination should be ascertained,

          Noting the continued cooperation of the Non-Self-Governing Territories at the local and regional levels, including participation in the work of regional organizations,

          Mindful that, in order for the Special Committee to enhance its understanding of the political status of the people of Anguilla and to fulfil its mandate effectively, it is important for it to be apprised by the administering Power and to receive information from other appropriate sources, including the representatives of the Territory, concerning the wishes and aspirations of the people of the Territory,

          Aware of the importance both to Anguilla and to the Special Committee of the participation of elected and appointed representatives of Anguilla in the work of the Committee,

          Recognizing the need for the Special Committee to ensure that the appropriate bodies of the United Nations actively pursue a public awareness campaign aimed at assisting the people of Anguilla with their inalienable right to self-determination and in gaining a better understanding of the options for self-determination, on a case-by-case basis,

          Mindful, in that connection, that the holding of regional seminars in the Caribbean and Pacific regions and at Headquarters, with the active participation of representatives of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, provides a helpful means for the Special Committee to fulfil its mandate and that the regional nature of the seminars, which alternate between the Caribbean and the Pacific, is a crucial element in the context of a United Nations programme for ascertaining the political status of the Territories,

          Welcoming the Pacific regional seminar held by the Special Committee in Managua and hosted by the Government of Nicaragua from 31 May to 2 June 2016 as a significant and forward-looking event, which enabled the participants to assess the progress made in the decolonization process and to review the existing working methods of the Committee and renew its momentum in implementing its historic task,

          Recognizing the importance of the conclusions and recommendations adopted by the seminar, which are annexed to the report of the Special Committee[5] and which outline the findings of the seminar, including, especially, the way forward for the decolonization process within the context of the proclamation by the General Assembly of the period 2011-2020 as the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism,[6]

          Noting with appreciation the contribution to the development of some Territories by the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system, in particular the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Food Programme, as well as regional institutions such as the Caribbean Development Bank, the Caribbean Community, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, the Pacific Islands Forum and the agencies of the Council of Regional Organizations in the Pacific,

          Recalling the holding of the 2003 Caribbean regional seminar in Anguilla, hosted by the territorial Government and made possible by the administering Power, the first time that the seminar had been held in a Non-Self-Governing Territory,

          Recalling also the statement made by the representative of Anguilla at the Pacific regional seminar held in Quito from 30 May to 1 June 2012 that the people of the Territory were concerned that they were being denied the full range of decolonization options under a drafting exercise that began in 2011,

          Aware of the follow-up meeting, held after the 2012 Pacific regional seminar, between the Chair of the Special Committee and the Chief Minister of Anguilla, who reiterated the urgent need for a visiting mission,

          Noting the internal constitutional review process resumed by the territorial Government in 2006, the work of the Constitutional and Electoral Reform Commission, which prepared its report in August 2006, the holding of public and other consultative meetings in 2007 on proposed constitutional amendments to be presented to the administering Power, the decisions taken in 2008 and 2011 to set up a drafting team to prepare a new constitution and present it for public consultation in the Territory and the recent efforts undertaken in that regard, including the establishment, in September 2015, of a new Constitutional and Electoral Reform Committee to advance constitutional and electoral reform,

          Noting also the participation of the Territory as a member in the Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories Council and an associate member in the Caribbean Community, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean,

          Recalling the general elections which took place in April 2015,

          1.       Reaffirms the inalienable right of the people of Anguilla to self-determination, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and with General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV), containing the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples;

          2.       Also reaffirms that, in the process of decolonization of Anguilla, there is no alternative to the principle of self-determination, which is also a fundamental human right, as recognized under the relevant human rights conventions;

          3.       Further reaffirms that it is ultimately for the people of Anguilla to determine freely their future political status in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter, the Declaration and the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, and in that connection calls upon the administering Power, in cooperation with the territorial Government and appropriate bodies of the United Nations system, to develop political education programmes for the Territory in order to foster an awareness among the people of their right to self-determination in conformity with the legitimate political status options, based on the principles clearly defined in Assembly resolution 1541 (XV) and other relevant resolutions and decisions;

          4.       Welcomes the preparations made for a new constitution, and urges that constitutional discussions with the administering Power, including public consultations, be concluded as soon as possible;

          5.       Requests the administering Power to assist the Territory in its current efforts with regard to advancing the internal constitutional review exercise, if requested;

          6.       Stresses the importance of the previously expressed desire of the territorial Government for a visiting mission by the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, calls upon the administering Power to facilitate such a mission, if the territorial Government so desires, and requests the Chair of the Special Committee to take all the necessary steps to that end;

          7.       Requests the administering Power to assist the Territory by facilitating its work concerning public consultative outreach efforts consistent with Article 73 b of the Charter, and in that regard calls upon the relevant United Nations organizations to provide assistance to the Territory, if requested;

          8.       Calls upon the administering Power to assist the territorial Government in strengthening its commitments in the economic domain, including budgetary matters, with regional support as needed and appropriate;

          9.       Welcomes the active participation of the Territory in the work of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean;

          10.     Stresses the importance of the Special Committee being apprised of the views and wishes of the people of Anguilla and enhancing its understanding of their conditions, including the nature and scope of the existing political and constitutional arrangements between Anguilla and the administering Power;

          11.     Calls upon the administering Power to participate in and cooperate fully with the work of the Special Committee in order to implement the provisions of Article 73 e of the Charter and the Declaration and in order to advise the Committee on the implementation of the provisions under Article 73 b of the Charter on efforts to promote self-government in Anguilla, and encourages the administering Power to facilitate visiting and special missions to the Territory;

          12.     Reaffirms the responsibility of the administering Power under the Charter to promote the economic and social development and to preserve the cultural identity of the Territory, and requests the administering Power to take steps to enlist and make effective use of all possible assistance, on both a bilateral and a multilateral basis, in the strengthening of the economies of the Territory;

          13.     Takes into account the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals,[7] stresses the importance of fostering the economic and social sustainable development of the Territory by promoting sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth, creating greater opportunities for all, reducing inequalities, raising basic standards of living, fostering equitable social development and inclusion and promoting the integrated and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems that supports, inter alia, economic, social and human development, while facilitating ecosystem conservation, regeneration, restoration and resilience in the face of new and emerging challenges, and strongly urges the administering Power to refrain from undertaking any kind of illicit, harmful and unproductive activities, including the use of the Territory as a tax haven, that are not aligned with the interest of the people of the Territory;

          14.     Requests the Territory and the administering Power to take all measures necessary to protect and conserve the environment of the Territory against any degradation, and once again requests the specialized agencies concerned to monitor environmental conditions in the Territory and to provide assistance to the Territory, consistent with their prevailing rules of procedure;

          15.     Requests the Special Committee to continue to examine the question of Anguilla and to report thereon to the General Assembly at its seventy-second session and on the implementation of the present resolution.





         [1] Official Records of the General Assembly, Seventy-first Session, Supplement No. 23 (A/71/23), chap. X.
         [2] A/AC.109/2016/2.
         [3] Resolution 1514 (XV).
         [4] A/56/61, annex.
         [5] Official Records of the General Assembly, Seventy-first Session, Supplement No. 23 (A/71/23).
         [6] See resolution 65/119.
         [7] Resolution 70/1.

17 August 2016

Self-determination association forms with an eye on Ryukyu independence

en.wikipedia.org



On July 24, the newly-formed “Nuchi du takara (life is a treasure)! Ryukyu self-determination association (preparatory association)” held an event to celebrate its formation at the Central Community Center in Nishihara Town. Approximately 150 people attended the event. The association aims to be a “civil society-style political organization” and plans to utilize the United Nations and international law to work toward realizing self-determination, with an eye on the possibility of eventually achieving Ryukyuan independence. The association plans to develop into an official political association once it attains a certain number of supporters.

The association upholds five tenets, including “embodying the history of Ryuku/Okinawa up until the present, and, with strength, opening up the future through the exercise of Ryuku/Okinawan self-determination with a readiness to aim for independence,” and “bidding farewell to the colonialism of Ryukyu/Okinawa by Japan and the United States, which continues today in the form of the Henoko new base construction issue.” Members are required to have roots in the Ryukyu arc.

As its basic policy, the association upholds the goals of “working together with the United Nations, international society, and East Asia and expanding self-determination” and “seeing resolutions supporting the realization of self-determination passed by all of [Okinawa’s] city, town, and village assemblies, and by the Prefectural Assembly.” It plans to work on a variety of pressing issues, including working to achieve the immediate closure of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, opposing the forcible construction of a new base in Henoko and of Osprey pads in Takae, and opposing increased Japan Self-Defense Force deployment on Okinawa and further militarization of Okinawa, in addition to working to promote economic development, cultural promotion, language education, and an improved working environment.

One sponsor of the association, Nishihara Town councilmember Yoshio Yonamine, said, “Ultimately, we hope to become a group capable of conducting a prefectural referendum on the issue of realizing self-determination.”


(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

16 August 2016

UNESCO reports on assistance programmes to dependent territories


"The United Nations General Assembly (annually) request(s) the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system, and international and regional organizations, to examine and review conditions in each Non-Self-Governing Territory, so as to take appropriate measures to accelerate progress in the economic and social sectors of the Territories." (
U.N. General Assembly Resolution 70/96)

Information submitted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 
on assistance to Non Self-Governing Territories (NSGTs)

(excerpted from U.N. Report E/2016/49 )

Five Non-Self-Governing Territories have the status of associate members of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), namely Anguilla (2013), the British Virgin Islands (1983), the Cayman Islands (1999), Montserrat (2015) and Tokelau (2001). UNESCO employs every opportunity to engage with Territories through platforms of action, information and cooperation, or capacity-building activities organized at the regional, subregional and national levels.

To address the lack of good-quality education statistics in the Pacific, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the secretariat of the Pacific Community jointly organized a regional workshop on education data and indicators, with a focus on the International Standard Classification of Education 2011, in New Caledonia in February 2014. Fifteen Pacific island countries and Territories, including Tokelau, took part.

UNESCO assisted Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and Montserrat in capacity-building for officials of their respective ministries of education regarding the monitoring and evaluation of education sector plans and policy priorities, and in designing and implementing technical and vocational education and training and skills development. The capacity of the ministries was also strengthened through planning for disaster risk reduction in the education sector. Training in quality assurance in higher education was organized in Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and Montserrat.

A small number of World Heritage properties are located in Non-Self-Governing Territories: in Bermuda, the historic town of St George and related fortifications (cultural property, United Kingdom, inscribed in 2000); in New Caledonia, the lagoons of New Caledonia, their reef diversity and associated ecosystems (natural property, France, inscribed in 2008); Henderson Island, Pitcairn (natural property, Pitcairn, United Kingdom, inscribed in 1988).

Whereas nomination files have to be submitted by those States parties that have ratified the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, the local authorities of those Territories are usually involved in the preparation of the files and the day-to-day management of the properties.

The lagoons of New Caledonia were selected as a World Heritage property good practice case study for the involvement of local communities in the management of such properties in the publication World Heritage in Europe Today (available from http://whc.unesco.org/en/eur-na/), published in February 2016.

There are also a number of sites located in Non-Self-Governing Territories that are inscribed on the tentative lists of States parties for nomination to World Heritage status: in Gibraltar, Gorham’s cave complex (cultural property, United Kingdom, added in 2012); Saint Helena (natural property, United Kingdom, added in 2012); the Turks and Caicos Islands (natural property, United Kingdom, added in 2012); on American Samoa, the Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary (natural property, United States, added in 2008); in French Polynesia, the sacred site of Tapu-tapu-ātea/Te Pō, valley of Ō-po-ä (cultural property, France, added in 2010).

Non-Self-Governing Territories participate in World Heritage Committee sessions and may make statements as part of the State party delegation, as participants from New Caledonia did at the thirty-second session of the World Heritage Committee, held in Quebec in 2008. For the Caribbean, all the Territories are invited to international and periodic reporting meetings organized with UNESCO, irrespective of their status.

Experts from Non-Self-Governing Territories regularly attend events and meetings relating to World Heritage issues. For example, three experts from New Caledonia took part in a Pacific World Heritage workshop (Apia, September 2011); representatives of Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands attended a meeting on the theme of “Capacity-building on heritage conservation in the Caribbean small island developing States”, held in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, from 8 to 13 May 2014; and two representatives of the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands took part in a Caribbean training course on the preparation of nomination dossiers for World Heritage status (Kingston, June 2012) and in a follow-up training workshop organized in Antigua in March 2013.

The UNESCO Asia-Pacific World Heritage project organized a workshop on marine biodiversity and climate change awareness among youth, held in Touho, New Caledonia, from 7 to 13 April 2014 in cooperation with the Conservatoire d’espaces naturels de Nouvelle Calédonie, which has been playing a central role in the management of the lagoons of New Caledonia. Some 15 international and 10 local young persons took part in the youth action camp to share youth-led initiatives in marine biodiversity and climate change adaptation in their respective countries and learn about some of the international frameworks, such as the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

A representative of New Caledonia attended a workshop on efforts to combat the illicit trafficking of cultural property in Melanesia, held in Port Vila from 5 to 7 August 2015 and convened by UNESCO in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Vanuatu. It brought together representatives of five Melanesian countries and Territories, along with representatives of UNESCO, the International Criminal Police Organization, the Pacific Islands Museums Association, the Oceania Customs Organization secretariat, the Pacific Heritage Hub at the University of the South Pacific, the secretariat of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and participants from Australia and New Zealand. The participants discussed the related challenges facing the Pacific small island developing States, including ocean border control, the communal ownership of cultural heritage, cultural infrastructure development, resource constraints and the lack of awareness of cultural property laws among visitors and the expatriate community.

Several Non-Self-Governing Territories hold important underwater cultural heritage sites and/or are profiting from their valorization. Bermuda plans to establish an international shipwreck exploration industry to generate revenue; the Cayman Islands is working towards research into and protection of submerged sites and their touristic valorization; in the waters of Guam, submerged cultural heritage from every period of colonial occupation is known to be present, including shipwrecks from the Spanish colonial period, some of which have recently been commercially exploited; New Caledonia boasts many submerged ships (more than 300 large vessels are known to have been lost in its waters); Pitcairn is best known for the story of the Bounty, famously associated with one of the most notorious mutinies in British history, meaning that the wreck of the Bounty and mutineer village sites on land are culturally significant for the population; and underwater cultural heritage sites in Tokelau provide testimony to the contacts made by Tokelau with surrounding countries.

Representatives of the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands attended a UNESCO regional capacity-building programme on the safeguarding of the underwater cultural heritage of the Caribbean, held in Port Royal, Jamaica, in November 2012.
34.    UNESCO has been working for some years on the development of a cultural policy for Tokelau. This has progressed very slowly. To date, a scoping paper on how the policy could be developed has been prepared and an in-country consultation held. Furthermore, UNESCO is supporting a report on the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage in Tokelau that will contribute further to the national policy, if Tokelau decides to take it forward, as well as helping to identify intangible cultural heritage at risk.

UNESCO provided support to the Cayman Islands in the development of its first national cultural policy (2015-2016).

UNESCO provided assistance to the first festival of Oceania tapa, held in Tahiti, French Polynesia, from 13 to 23 November 2014 in the framework of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The festival brought together more than 100 tapa makers, government officials, academics and representatives of non-governmental organizations involved in the safeguarding and revitalization of tapa. The festival consisted of a symposium, a demonstration workshop and exhibitions. It provided an opportunity to highlight the unifying dimension of the unique intangible cultural heritage shared among islands in the Pacific and discuss how to strengthen its safeguarding through regional and international cooperation.

An expert from the Department of Culture, Citizenship and the Status of Women of New Caledonia took part in a workshop on the theme of intangible cultural heritage implementation, organized by the International Training Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region under the auspices of UNESCO in Beijing in December 2012.

Because of its proximity to three of the islands in the project and a direct relationship to their intangible cultural heritage, in 2015 Anguilla took part in a project on strengthening the capacities of Suriname and the Caribbean islands of the Netherlands to implement the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Through a series of workshops in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, UNESCO has been working with educators and trainers to enable them to develop hands-on programmes on education for sustainable development, with the proactive approach of “measure, analyse, share and take action” of the UNESCO “Sandwatch” global climate change education and coastal monitoring programme, which is focused on small island developing States.

For the Pacific region, a workshop on climate change education inside and outside the classroom was held in Poindimié, New Caledonia, from 27 to 30 October 2014, with the support of the North Province of New Caledonia. The course combined lessons from the teachers’ course on climate change education for sustainable development and Sandwatch. The 28 participants came mainly from small island developing States in the Pacific and from New Caledonia, and included primary, secondary and tertiary level teachers, school principals, teacher trainers, educators and curriculum developers from ministries of education, and community educators from non-governmental organizations.

In addition, schools and community groups in Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, New Caledonia, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the United States Virgin Islands continue to implement locally the methodology of a science education scheme through sustainable coastal monitoring, through which pupils, teachers and local communities work together in the field to monitor their beach environments, identify and evaluate the threats, problems and conflicts facing them and develop appropriate sustainable approaches to address those issues.

The UNESCO International Hydrological Programme has led the first-ever global assessment of the current state of groundwater resources in small island developing States, which will provide the basis for the development of policies and procedures for the sound management of those resources. Nine Non-Self-Governing Territories (American Samoa, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, French Polynesia, Guam, Montserrat, New Caledonia, Tokelau and the United States Virgin Islands) were assessed. The results revealed that groundwater was the only source of water supply for most of them and that population density appeared to be the main driver of water stress. Most of the islands were shown to be at risk of human-caused pollution of groundwater and of water scarcity. On the basis of that work and other activities within its groundwater and climate change programme, the Groundwater Resources Assessment under the Pressures of Humanity and Climate Change, under the auspices of the UNESCO International Hydrological Programme, is currently preparing a technical paper on the impact of climate change on groundwater resources on small island developing States (including the nine Territories listed above).

Within the framework of the activities of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, officials from French Polynesia took part in the following meetings:

          (a)     Third meeting of the Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System Working Group Task Team on Seismic Data-sharing in the South-west Pacific, held in May 2014 in Port Vila;

          (b)     International tsunami symposium held on 20 and 21 April 2015, in Honolulu, United States, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System;

          (c)     Twenty-sixth session of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System, held from 21 to 24 April 2015 in Honolulu.

Officials from New Caledonia also took part in the above-mentioned and following meetings and events sponsored by the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission:

          (a)     Training on new enhanced tsunami forecast products, held in May 2014 under the Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System;

          (b)     Fourth meetings of the Working Group Task Team on Seismic Data-sharing in the South-west Pacific, held in November 2015 in Suva.

It is also planned that Tokelau will be assisted with strengthening its tsunami monitoring, warning and response capabilities by dedicated training of its key staff and by supporting the formalization of warning arrangements with the Government of Samoa. The support will also include the formulation of a tsunami plan and the development of standard operating procedures for warning and response.

American Samoa, French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Tokelau are all significant players in Pacific regional networks, such as the Pacific Youth Council and Pacific women’s networks, of which there are several. Pitcairn is less well integrated into those networks, probably owing to its remoteness. The regional networks provide important opportunities for exchanging information and building capacity and should be fostered and strengthened.

UNESCO provides specific support to Tokelau as part of the cluster under its office in Apia. Past programmes have focused on youth (national youth policy and action plan) and gender equality (national women’s policy and action plan).

UNESCO is organizing a Pacific youth policy workshop, to be held in June 2016 in Nadi, Fiji, in partnership with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Participants from American Samoa, French Polynesia and New Caledonia are expected.

On 23 and 24 September 2015, UNESCO organized its first-ever two-day conference and consultation on the ethical dimensions of the information society and Internet privacy for members (Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) and associate members (Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands) of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. At this major event, organized with the Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis in the framework of the UNESCO intergovernmental “Information for All” programme, current challenges relating to information ethics were examined, in particular those facing small island developing States. A declaration was adopted, including strategic recommendations for shaping national and regional information and knowledge societies, programmes and policies, thereby enabling small island developing States to develop a range of proactive responses.

A representative of Montserrat took part in the General Assembly of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union, held in Grenada in August 2015. Freedom of expression, media self-regulation and media policy and funding were among the issues discussed.

A representative of the British Virgin Islands took part in the UNESCO “Memory of the World” training workshop for Latin America and Caribbean, which was held in Jamaica in August 2015. During the hands-on workshop, participants prepared their first nominations for the Memory of the World international register.