23 November 2020

INDEPENDENT SELF-GOVERNANCE ASSESSMENT ON BONAIRE


 

19 November 2020

Antony Géros new president of the Superior Council of the FPC


Tahiti, November 16, 2020 - Antony Géros succeeds Benoit Kautai as President of the Higher Council for the Public Service of the Municipalities. The tāvana of Paea is elected against the mayor of Mahina, Damas Teuira, the candidate supported by the mayors in the Council. 

Antony Géros, will be the president of the Superior Council of the Public Service of the Communes (CSFPC) until 2026. He succeeds Benoît Kautai who had been in office since 2014. The mayor of Paea, president of the sovereignist group Tavini Huiraatira at the assembly from French Polynesia, was elected Wednesday, November 4 against the city councilor of Mahina, Damas Teuira and despite the support given to the latter by the elected municipal officials represented within the CSFPC. 

If for this election the candidacy Géros obtained the support of a strong majority of the members representing the trade unions with the exception of the three representatives of A Tia i mua, it above all received five precious votes among the 10 representatives of the municipalities, of open support for Damascus Teuira. Out of the 20 votes cast in this election, the new CSFPC president obtained 12 votes in his favor.

 "Antony Géros is a municipal agent. He is the former secretary general of the town hall of Faa'a. He knows the problem of municipalities ", defends one of the representatives of the trade unions. " Unlike Damas Teuira, who was originally an official of the Country ." 

The Superior Council of the Municipal Public Service is intended to be consulted for an opinion on all draft texts relating to the statute of the municipal public service and to the rules relating to the organization of this branch of the public service. 

The next major project for the CSFPC is the cleaning of the January 2005 ordinance on the general status of civil servants in municipalities and groupings of municipalities in French Polynesia as well as their public administrative establishments. This text has been applicable since 2012. The opinion of the CSFPC on the grooming project submitted to it is expected next January at the latest.

16 November 2020

Colonialism and Neo-colonialism in the Caribbean - An Overview

Norman Girvan 

Prepared For IV International Seminar Africa, The Caribbean And Latin America, St. Vincent And The Grenadines, 24th- 26th November, 2012

Introduction 

The contemporary Caribbean1/ is one of the most politically fragmented regions for its size on earth; and one with the strongest remaining colonial presence. Political divisions and external control are major blocs to the consolidation of a Caribbean identity and the charting of an independent course of development in the interest of Caribbean peoples. They undermine the ‘fragmented nationalism’2/, and the pervasive epistemological dependency 3/ , that is characteristic of the regional consciousness. This situation is a direct consequence of the region’s five-century long history as area of rivalry among, and colonisation by, external powers. 

Political decolonisation of Caribbean countries is incomplete; indeed it has come to a virtual standstill. Initiatives at regional cooperation and regional integration have made some progress; but face continuing challenges. Such progress as has been made result from the efforts of Caribbean people themselves; and are continuing. Rebellion, revolution, cultural affirmation and other forms of resistance are as integral to the Caribbean experience as are exploitation by external forces and internal elites. 

The tradition of struggle serves to inspire, inform and motivate current generations. Slowly but surely, a pan-Caribbean consciousness is emerging, led by the vision of cultural practitioners; and containing the seeds of a future Caribbean nation. 
________________________________________________________________

1/ In this paper we refer to ‘the Caribbean’ as constituting the archipelago which runs from the Bahamas to Trinidad and Tobago; plus Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Belize, and Bermuda. 

2/ See Franklin W. Knight, The Caribbean: Genesis of a Fragmented Nationalism . Oxford University Press, 2011. 

3/ See Brian Meeks and Norman Girvan (eds.) The Thought of New World: The Quest for Decolonisation. Ian Randle Publishers, 2009.

15 November 2020

U.N. COMMITTEE SUPPORTS ASSISTANCE TO DEPENDENT TERRITORIES

The United Nations (U.N.) Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee) has adopted its annual resolution in support of U.N. assistance to the remaining seventeen non self-governing territories. The resolution was adopted on 6th November by the specific General Assembly committee which deals with decolonization issues and is comprised of all 193 U.N. member States. The resolution is reproduced below: 

_______________________________________________________   


RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY U.N. FOURTH COMMITTEE

Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations 

          The General Assembly,

          Having considered the item entitled “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations”,

          Having also considered the report of the Secretary-General[1] and the report of the Economic and Social Council[2] on the item,

          Having examined 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 2020,[3]

          Recalling its resolutions 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960 and 1541 (XV) of 15 December 1960 and the resolutions of the Special Committee, as well as other relevant resolutions and decisions, including, in particular, Economic and Social Council resolutions 2018/18 of 3 July 2018 and 2019/27 of 23 July 2019,

          Bearing in mind the relevant provisions of the final documents of the successive Conferences of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries and of the resolutions adopted by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, the Pacific Islands Forum and the Caribbean Community,

          Conscious of the need to facilitate the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, contained in resolution 1514 (XV),

          Noting that the large majority of the remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories are small island Territories,

          Welcoming the assistance extended to Non-Self-Governing Territories by certain specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system,

          Welcoming also the participation in the capacity of observers of those Non-Self-Governing Territories that are associate members of regional commissions in the world conferences in the economic and social spheres, subject to the rules of procedure of the General Assembly and in accordance with relevant resolutions and decisions of the United Nations, including resolutions and decisions of the Assembly and the Special Committee on specific Territories,

          Noting that only some specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system have been involved in providing assistance to Non-Self-Governing Territories,

          Stressing that, because the development options of the small island Non-Self-Governing Territories are limited, there are special challenges to planning for and implementing sustainable development and that those Territories will be constrained in meeting those challenges without the continuing cooperation and assistance of the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system,

          Stressing also the importance of securing the resources necessary for funding expanded programmes of assistance for the peoples concerned and the need to enlist the support of all major funding institutions within the United Nations system in that regard,

          Reaffirming the mandates of the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system to take all appropriate measures, within their respective responsibilities, to ensure the full implementation of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) and other relevant resolutions,

          Expressing its appreciation to the African Union, the Pacific Islands Forum, the Caribbean Community and other regional organizations for the continued cooperation and assistance that they have extended to the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system in this regard,

          Expressing its conviction that closer contacts and consultations between and among the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system and regional organizations help to facilitate the effective formulation of programmes of assistance to the peoples concerned,

          Mindful of the imperative need to keep under continuous review the activities of the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system in the implementation of the various resolutions and decisions of the United Nations relating to decolonization,

          Bearing in mind the extremely fragile economies of the small island Non-Self-Governing Territories and their vulnerability to natural disasters, such as hurricanes, cyclones and sea level rise, and recalling the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly,

          Recalling its resolution 74/95 of 13 December 2019 on the implementation of the Declaration by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations,

          Recalling also its resolutions 74/270 of 2 April 2020, entitled “Global solidarity to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)”, and 74/274 of 20 April 2020, entitled “International cooperation to ensure global access to medicines, vaccines and medical equipment to face COVID-19”,

          1.       Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General;1

          2.       Recommends that all States intensify their efforts through the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system of which they are members to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, contained in General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV), and other relevant resolutions of the United Nations;

          3.       Reaffirms that the specialized agencies and other organizations and institutions of the United Nations system should continue to be guided by the relevant resolutions of the United Nations in their efforts to contribute to the implementation of the Declaration and all other relevant resolutions of the General Assembly;

          4.       Also reaffirms that the recognition by the General Assembly, the Security Council and other United Nations organs of the legitimacy of the aspirations of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories to exercise their right to self-determination entails, as a corollary, the extension of all appropriate assistance to those peoples;

          5.       Expresses its appreciation to those specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system that have continued to cooperate with the United Nations and the regional and subregional organizations in the implementation of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) and other relevant resolutions of the United Nations, and requests all the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system to implement the relevant provisions of those resolutions;

          6.       Requests the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system to intensify their engagement with the work 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 as an important element for the implementation of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV), including participation in the regional seminars on decolonization, upon the invitation of the Special Committee;

          7.       Requests the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system and international and regional organizations to examine and review conditions in each Territory so as to take appropriate measures to accelerate progress in the economic and social sectors of the Territories;

          8.       Urges those specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system that have not yet provided assistance to Non-Self-Governing Territories to do so as soon as possible;

          9.       Requests the specialized agencies and other organizations and institutions of the United Nations system and regional organizations to strengthen existing measures of support and formulate appropriate programmes of assistance for the remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories, within the framework of their respective mandates, in order to accelerate progress in the economic and social sectors of those Territories;

          10.     Requests the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system concerned to provide information on:

          (a)     Environmental problems facing the Non-Self-Governing Territories;

          (b)     The impact of natural disasters, such as hurricanes and volcanic eruptions, and other environmental problems, such as beach and coastal erosion and droughts, on those Territories;

          (c)     Ways and means to assist the Territories to fight drug trafficking, money-laundering and other illegal and criminal activities;

          (d)     Illegal exploitation of the marine and other natural resources of the Territories and the need to utilize those resources for the benefit of the peoples of the Territories;

          11.     Recommends that the executive heads of the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system formulate, with the active cooperation of the regional organizations concerned, concrete proposals for the full implementation of the relevant resolutions of the United Nations and submit the proposals to their governing and legislative organs;

          12.     Also recommends that the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system continue to review at the regular meetings of their governing bodies the implementation of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) and other relevant resolutions of the United Nations;

          13.     Recalls the adoption by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean of its resolution 574 (XXVII) of 16 May 1998,[4] calling for the necessary mechanisms for its associate members, including Non-Self-Governing Territories, to participate in the special sessions of the General Assembly, subject to the rules of procedure of the Assembly, to review and assess the implementation of the plans of action of those United Nations world conferences in which the Territories originally participated in the capacity of observer, and in the work of the Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary bodies;

          14.     Requests the Chair of the Special Committee to deepen cooperation with the President of the Economic and Social Council on the identical agenda items of both bodies on assistance to the Non-Self-Governing Territories, through regular consultations, in accordance with relevant resolutions on decolonization;

          15.     Recalls the publication by the Department of Public Information and the Department of Political Affairs of the Secretariat, in consultation with United Nations agencies, funds and programmes and the Special Committee, of an information leaflet on assistance programmes available to the Non-Self-Governing Territories, which was updated for the United Nations website on decolonization, and requests its continued updating and wide dissemination;

          16.     Welcomes the continuing efforts made by the United Nations Development Programme in maintaining close liaison among the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system, including the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and in providing assistance to the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories;

          17.     Encourages the Non-Self-Governing Territories to take steps to establish and/or strengthen disaster preparedness and management institutions and policies, inter alia, with the assistance of the relevant specialized agencies;

          18.     Requests the administering Powers concerned to facilitate, when appropriate, the participation of appointed and elected representatives of Non-Self-Governing Territories in the relevant meetings and conferences of the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system, in accordance with relevant resolutions and decisions of the United Nations, including resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly and the Special Committee on specific Territories, so that the Territories may benefit from the related activities of those agencies and organizations;

          19.     Recommends that all Governments intensify their efforts through the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system of which they are members to accord priority to the question of providing assistance to the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories;

          20.     Requests the Secretary-General to continue to assist the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system in working out appropriate measures for implementing the relevant resolutions of the United Nations and to prepare for submission to the relevant bodies, with the assistance of those agencies and organizations, a report on the action taken in implementation of the relevant resolutions, including the present resolution, since the circulation of his previous report;

          21.     Commends the Economic and Social Council for its debate on this question, and requests it to continue to consider and intensify its cooperation with the Special Committee, with the aim of developing appropriate measures for the further coordination of the policies and activities of the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system in implementing the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly;

          22.     Requests the specialized agencies to report annually to the Secretary-General on the implementation of the present resolution;

          23.     Requests the Secretary-General to transmit the present resolution to the governing bodies of the appropriate specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations so that those bodies may take the measures necessary to implement it, and also requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its seventy-fifth session on the implementation of the present resolution;

          24.     Requests the Special Committee to continue to examine the question and to report thereon to the General Assembly at its seventy-sixth session.



      [1]  A/75/73.

      [2]  E/2020/52/Rev.1.

      [3] Official Records of the General Assembly, Seventy-fifth Session, Supplement No. 23 (A/75/23).

      [4] See Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1998, Supplement No. 21 (E/1998/41), sect. III.G.

13 November 2020

U.N. Fourth Committee Approves 23 Texts on Decolonization

 

GA/SPD/725
6 NOVEMBER 2020
SEVENTY-FIFTH SESSION, 10TH MEETING (PM)

Fourth Committee Approves 23 Texts on Decolonization, as It Concludes Main Part of Seventy-Fifth General Assembly Session

Chair Notes High Output Despite Constraints Imposed by COVID-19 Pandemic, Highlighting ‘Exceptional’ Joint General Debate

The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) approved 22 draft resolutions and one draft decision concerning decolonization today, as it completed its work for the main part of the General Assembly’s seventy-fifth session.

At the outset, the Committee approved the a text titled “Information from Non‑Self‑Governing Territories transmitted under Article 73 e of the Charter of the United Nations” by a recorded vote of 163 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 2 abstentions (France, United Kingdom).

By its terms, the General Assembly requests that administering Powers transmit or continue to regularly transmit to the Secretary‑General statistical and other technical information relating to the economic, social and educational conditions in the Territories within a maximum period of six months following the expiration of the administrative year.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution “Economic and other activities which affect the interests of the peoples of the Non‑Self‑Governing Territories” by a recorded 162 votes in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 3 abstentions (El Salvador, France, United Kingdom).

By that text, the Assembly reaffirms its deep concern at the number and scale of natural disasters in the course of 2017 and their devastating impact on Caribbean Non‑Self‑Governing Territories.  The Assembly also expresses concern about activities aimed at exploiting the natural and human resources of the Non‑Self‑Governing Territories to the detriment of their inhabitants.

Further by that text, the Assembly calls upon administering Powers to ensure that the exploitation of marine and other natural resources in the Non‑Self‑Governing Territories neither violates relevant United Nations resolutions nor adversely affects the interests of the Territories’ peoples.  It also calls upon those Powers to provide all necessary assistance to those in the Territories affected by hurricanes in order to alleviate humanitarian needs, support recovery and rebuilding efforts, and enhance emergency preparedness and risk reduction capabilities.

The Committee also approved — by a recorded vote of 115 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 52 abstentions — the draft “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations”.

By that text, the Assembly recommends that all States intensify their efforts to ensure full and effective implementation of the Declaration through specialized agencies and other entities of the United Nations system.  It also urges those that have not yet provided assistance to Non-Self‑Governing Territories to do so as soon as possible.

Taking up the draft “Dissemination of Information on Decolonization draft resolution XVIII” (document A/75/23, chapter V, p.100), the Committee approved it by a recorded vote of 168 in favour, 2 against (Israel, United States) with 1 abstention (France).

By its terms, the General Assembly requests that the Department of Global Communications continue its efforts to update web-based information on the assistance programmes available to the Non-Self-Governing Territories.  It also requests that the Department, and the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, implement the recommendations of the Special Committee on Decolonization.

The Committee then turned to the draft “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples” (document A/75/23, chapter V, p.102), by which the General Assembly calls upon administering Powers to cooperate fully with the Special Committee to develop and finalize a constructive programme of work for the Non-Self-Governing Territories to facilitate implementation of the Special Committee’s mandate as well as relevant resolutions.

Moreover, the text calls upon administering Powers to ensure that economic and other activities in the Territories do not adversely affect the interests of their peoples but instead promote development.  It also calls upon the administering Powers to terminate military activities and eliminate military bases in the Territories.  The Committee approved the text by a recorded 126 votes in favour to 3 against (Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 42 abstentions.  

The Committee then turned to the draft resolution “Fourth International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism: draft resolution XX” (document A/75/23, chapter V, p.106), by which the General Assembly declares the period 2021–2030 the Fourth International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism.  As such, the Assembly calls upon Member States to intensify their efforts to implement the plan of action for the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism.  It calls upon the administering Powers to cooperate fully with the Special Committee to develop a constructive programme of work for the Non-Self-Governing Territories to facilitate implementation of its mandate.  The Committee approved the text by a recorded vote of 147 in favour to 3 against (Israel, United States), with 22 abstentions.

It went on to approve several other texts without a vote, including “Offers by Member States of study and training facilities for inhabitants of Non-Self-Governing Territories” (document A/C.4/75/L.2), by which the General Assembly urges administering Powers to take effective measures to ensure widespread and continuous dissemination of State-offered study and training facilities information in Territories and provide all facilities necessary to enable students to avail themselves of such offers.

Acting again without a vote, the Committee approved drafts on the following individual Non‑Self‑Governing Territories:  American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, French Polynesia, Guam, Montserrat, New Caledonia, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Tokelau, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands.

The Committee went on to approve, without a vote, a draft resolution and a draft decision on the questions of Western Sahara and Gibraltar, respectively.

Finally, the Committee a draft decision on its programme of work for the seventy-sixth session without a vote.

In concluding remarks, Committee Chair Collen Vixen Kelapile (Botswana) noted that it approved 34 draft resolutions and three draft decisions despite constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  On an exceptional basis, the Committee held a joint general debate on all 11 substantive agenda items before it, which heard 135 statements delivered in 10 formal meetings and two virtual informal meetings.

Delivering statements in explanation of position were representatives of the United States, United Kingdom, Argentina, Germany, Australia, Armenia and Spain.

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply was the representative of Azerbaijan.

12 November 2020

U.N. FOURTH COMMITTEE APPROVES FOURTH INTERNATIONAL DECADE TO END CONTEMPORARY COLONIALISM

 The United Nations (U.N.) Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee) adopted the recommendation of the Special Committee on Decolonization to convene the Fourth International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (IDEC). The decision was made on 6th November 2020 at a meeting of the Fourth Committee at U.N. Headquarters in New York. Below is the text of the resolution which will be considered for final adoption by the full General Assembly in December.  

13 October 2020

VIRGIN ISLANDER WINS ANIMATION AWARD AT GHANA FILM FESTIVAL



Virgin Islander Verna M. Corbin has been awarded the excellence in animation award  by the Black Star International Film Festival for her animated short film “Jumbie Kids.” The annual event was held in Accra, Ghana, and brought together filmmakers from across Africa and its diaspora including Haiti, the Virgin Islands and other Caribbean countries. 

Ms. Corbin is a graduate of St. Patrick’s School in Frederiksted, and attended St. Joseph High School before finishing here secondary studies in the U.S. She is a graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute with a BFA in Animation, and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Screenwriting at the National University in California.

The film “Jumbie Kids” depicts two Virgin Islands children who encounter a mischievous Moko Jumbie spirit, and was produced, according to Corbin, “as a love letter to my home of St. Croix, and the culture and sense of humor I grew up with.” She explained:

My middle school years were dotted with scary stories I would overhear from my classmates or older neighbors. All of these stories involve jumbles coming out at night and scaring unsuspecting people in scary yet hilarious ways. I found that with each story, the interpretations of the spirits differed from each other. Some jumbies would shape shift, some would be 12-feet tall. With this animation, I fused many of the visuals I’ve seen/heard or imagined and interpreted them into a spirit with its own personality.”

 Corbin intends to expand the “Jumbie Kids” film into a web-series in conjunction with other ongoing animated film and illustrated projects she is currently pursuing.

    Black Star International film festival is a non-profit festival in Ghana founded by Juliet Asante in 2015. It is a festival celebrated annually to bridge the gap between African movie cinema and the global community of movie makers, and focuses on the business aspect of film making.           


For further information:


27 September 2020

COLLECTIVITY OF SAINT MARTIN ELECTS FIRST WOMAN SENATOR

 SMN-N

Saint Martin News Network

Annick Petrus Ferga Sénatrice- elect of St. Martin.

 

annickpetrusferga27092020

Sénatrice elect Annick Petrus Ferga.

MARIGOT: --- Third Vice President of the Collectivity of St. Martin Annick Petrus Petrus Ferga have been elected sénatrice of St. Martin on Sunday. The Senate election was held on Sunday morning at the Prefecture of St. Martin. Contesting the elections were outgoing senator Guillaume Arnell and Marthe Ogundele Tessi.
Petrus- Ferga is part of the majority of Team Gibbs. While it was expected that the Senate election would have been a landslide for Petrus Ferga in the first round. However, a second-round was necessary since there was not an outright winner. Petrus is the first female to be elected Senator of St. Martin.
At 3 pm when at the 3rd round Annick Petrus Ferga scored 15 of the 24 votes, Marthe Ogundele Tessi scored 5 votes while outgoing senator Guillaume Arnell scored 2, while there were two blanks.
Petrus said that she was confident from the inception because her team is committed. However, Marthe Ogundele Tessi sounded bitter because in the first round she scored more votes than Petrus. Ogundele Tessi said that the people of St. Martin opted to vote for a Guadeloupean instead of voting for a St. Martiner. When she asked to clarify her statements Ogundele said that Petrus was born in Pointe a Pitre. 
Clearly, Ogundele took her defeat personally not taking into consideration that Annick Petrus Ferga served St. Martin in different capacities, first as a school teacher then a school directrice prior to entering into politics.
Outgoing Senator Guillaume Arnell thanked everyone for their support during the 6 years he held the office of the senator in Paris representing St. Martin.

19 December 2019

U.N. General Assembly - Indigenous Languages Face Extinction


GENERAL ASSEMBLY
PLENARY
SEVENTY-FOURTH SESSION

 HIGH-LEVEL EVENT ON INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES 

Indigenous Languages Face Extinction Without Concrete Action to Protect Them, Speakers Warn General Assembly, as International Year Concludes


Two Vanish Each Month, President Says, Urging Focus on Survival of Remaining Ones Rather than Assigning Blame Indigenous languages are in danger of extinction unless concrete measures are taken to protect them, speakers warned today, as the General Assembly convened a high‑level event marking the conclusion of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages.

Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said that to prevent the extinction of indigenous languages, speaking them must be normalized and promoted. Citing several benefits of doing so, he said the languages express the wisdom, world view and laws of ancestors, and teach how people can live in balance with Earth, which will be vital in facing future ecological challenges.


Tijjani Muhammad‑Bande (Nigeria), President of the General Assembly, cautioned that every two weeks, at least one indigenous language vanishes, leading to two language extinctions each month. At the same time, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples calls on States to take concrete measures to preserve them and combat discrimination against them through related effective policies. Rather than look for who to blame, he urged, the world should focus on measures to ensure the survival of remaining ones.

Liu Zhemin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, warned that with every time a language disappears, the world loses a wealth of traditional knowledge. Mr. Zhemin, who also serves as the Senior Official of the United Nations System to Coordinate Follow Up to the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, called for their political, economic and social empowerment, given that they face continued marginalization and the expropriation of their lands. Further, the 2020 World Population and Housing Census must ask about regular home use of indigenous languages, not just what languages are spoken.

Yalitza Aparicio, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Goodwill Ambassador for Indigenous Peoples, recalled her own experience growing up in Mexico, where her parents taught her Spanish, but not their indigenous mother tongue. “We are not different or strange beings the way we are often made to feel when we are stared at because of our colourful clothes, or the colour of our dark skin and our physical characteristics, or for the language we speak, which are codes of our history,” she said.

Anne Nuorgam (Finland), Chair of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, called upon Member States to formulate evidence‑based policies, long‑term strategies and regulatory frameworks to ensure the protection and revitalization of these languages. Indeed, expanding the use of their languages allows them to have better access to services, such as health care or legal proceedings. Meanwhile, language barriers make indigenous peoples vulnerable to actions by others that threaten their land, natural resources, cultures, sacred sites or economic livelihoods.

Marie‑Paule Roudil, Director of the UNESCO New York Liaison Office, highlighted the achievements of the International Year, noting that more than 900 events were held, bringing together key players, and distributing training materials on how to preserve, protect and promote indigenous languages. Describing indigenous peoples as guardians of knowledge, she said that knowledge can only be conveyed and transmitted through one vehicle — language. “Protection and promotion of indigenous languages is our common responsibility,” she declared.

During the day, the Assembly held a plenary segment, hearing statements from Member States, observers and representatives of indigenous peoples from the seven sociocultural regions and United Nations entities.

In closing remarks this afternoon, Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild, Co‑Chair of the Steering Committee of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages, welcomed the decision to proclaim a Decade for Indigenous Languages. “Let us work on a positive and assertive plan of action,” he said, adding: “Starting now, no more indigenous languages will die.” They are living and the value they add to the beauty and rich diversity of humankind can only make the world better. By 2032, there will be at minimum a doubling in the language fluency among indigenous language speakers. Many interventions must work together as one to ensure that indigenous languages are not subject to further gaps or marginalization, and must be accomplished by joining efforts outlined in the objectives set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Craig Ritchie, also Co‑Chair of the Steering Committee, said language matters to people on a personal and individual level. “They also matter to us as nations,” he said, noting that the International Year was a chance to highlight the damage done when language is lost. “We look back on a year of tremendous success and celebration. We are still here, and our voices are being heard.” While this year of recognizing that all people gain when indigenous languages are preserved and revitalized, he said, despite the progress, much work remains to be done.

Assembly President Mr. Muhammad‑Bande said, in his closing remarks, that indigenous peoples and their languages are an integral part of the global identity. “There is no doubt that the protection of linguistic diversity and multilingualism is crucial for peaceful co‑existence, good governance and sustainable development within and across countries,” he said, calling on Governments to redouble their efforts to include the use of indigenous languages in public life, and to provide the resources needed to make this happen.

Also speaking were: Kristen Carpenter, Chairperson of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Ali Keskitalo, Co‑Chair and Steering Committee Representative of the Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic; and Juan Fernando Velasco Torres, Minister for Culture and Heritage of Ecuador and Co-Chair of the Steering Committee of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages.

12 August 2019

BONAIRE NGO BEGINS HUMAN RIGHTS INFORMATION CAMPAIGN

Nos Ke Boneiru Bek, due to escalating discrimination and lack of respect by the new Dutch immigrants for the humble Bonerians, has recently launched an awareness and information campaign to protect Bonaire as we are a nation with its own culture, language, and our own way of life.

One of our main objective with this campaign is to expose and bring to light cases of injustice to the people of Bonaire committed by individuals, organizations, the local and Dutch government and their governmental institutions of abusive discriminatory actions, policies, laws and governmental corruption that are violating the fundamental civil, economic, social, political and cultural rights of our peoples. 

In our struggle to raise awareness by publicizing factual information on violations of aforementioned rights, NKBB was approached by Mr Rene Lauffer, former president-director of Oil Trading Bonaire, that recently denounced and exposed governmental corruption-scandal in the energetic sector. Mr Lauffer recognizes NKBB efforts to protect the rights of the Bonerians peoples and volunteered to share in our upcoming campaign series with valuable factual information based on his experience and expertise in this main socio-economic sector.


Mr Rene Lauffer (l), former president-director of OTB, join forces with NKBB 

to fight injustice and violation of fundamental rights of the Bonerian people.



Mr. Lauffer :
 
-        The stage is set and is very clear that the Dutch policy together with the local government is directed to eliminate the Oil Trading Bonaire.

-        The consequences hereof will result in another mayor loss of possibilities and potential income for the local government that would amount to two (2) or three (3) times more than the “vrije uitkering”.

-        Another mayor economic risk factor is that the strategic and secure fuel supply will never become same, equal as in Holland in Europe. But what most Bonerians, especially the majority of the peoples below the poverty line, are experiencing a continues raise in all fuel-related-economic and food consumer prices and especially WEB tariffs.

-        By elimination of  OTB the Bonaire peoples will lose the possibility of alleviation of  lowered and reduced WEB bills as much of  $.100 (one hundred U$) - to $150 (one hundred-fifty U$) every month.

Mr Lauffer voiced he will be committed to bring awareness in upcoming information series because “his love for Bonaire and the peoples” and that the “fast pace of the developments are not in the interest of Bonaire and its peoples”, although not being a whistle-blower, but made so by this local government corruption-scandal, his future on Bonaire is minimized.  Mr Lauffer is committed however to leave valuable information behind for the future generations.


U.N. IMPLEMENTATION OF DECOLONIZATION MANDATE KEY TO GENUINE SELF-DETERMINATION FOR MA'OHI NUI / FRENCH POLYNESIA

Statement to Special Committee on Decolonization (C24) 


Ms. Tiare-Maohi TAIRUA
President of the Association Union Chrétienne des Jeunes Gens 
United Nations, New York, N.Y. 
27th June 2019 


Madam Chair, 

Distinguished Members of the Special Committee, 

Independent expert analyses as the Blue Ocean Report on the French control of natural resources of French Polynesia as a violation of international law, the 2014 Independent Report on "The French Nuclear Testing in Ma’ohi-Nui/French Polynesia," the 2013 independent "Self-Governance Assessment on Ma’ohi-Nui/French Polynesia (already acknowledged by the General Assembly), and others could prove highly useful in informing the C24 and other relevant U.N. bodies of the challenges faced by the territories amid the insufficient implementation of the decolonization mandate in relation to French Polynesia and other territories similarly situated. 

Such independent analysis separates the facts from the political "spin" designed to lend an unwarranted legitimacy to contemporary dependency governance models such as the illusory autonomy administratively exercised by Ma’ohi-Nui/French Polynesia proxies. 

The overall lack of implementation of actions contained in decolonization resolutions since the beginning of the first International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism in 1990 is disturbing, and brings into serious question the extent of political will for the U.N. to carry out its mandate to bring an end to contemporary colonialism. 

It is, therefore, not surprising that there has been limited progress in achieving the goals of genuine decolonization, as opposed to mere colonial reform and modernization through attempts to justify contemporary colonialism. As one global decolonization expert observed before this committee in 2018: 

"This lack of implementation of actions mandated by the General Assembly can have the effect of relegating the debate to an exchange of differing opinions between those who recognize the true nature of contemporary colonialism, and those who have made an accommodation with it, irrespective of its democratic deficiencies. But this is not supposed to be about opinion. Rather, it is about providing member States with the opportunity for in-depth examination of the extent of genuine self-government in these territories on the basis of the requisite criteria of full political equality." 

Implementation of the mandate is the fundamental challenge, and continues to be the major stumbling block as we reach the end of the third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism. The re-inscription of Ma’ohi-Nui/French Polynesia on the U.N. list of non self-governing territories in 2013 was a historic moment, achieved with great expectations that the U.N. would live up to its promise. 

We remain optimistic that a genuine process of implementation of these mandates will be enacted with the renewed energy and political will to advance our territory to the full measure of self-government with equal rights and justice. 

Thank You, Madam Chair.

FRANCE VIOLATES INTERNATIONAL LAW BY USURPING NATURAL RESOURCES OF MA'OHI NUI / FRENCH POLYNESIA



Statement to Special Committee on Decolonization 
Reverend François Pihaatae 

Coordinator of Moruroa E Tatou Association



United Nations, New York, N.Y.
28th June 2019



Madam Chair,

Distinguished Members of the Special Committee,

We acknowledge with appreciation the progressive recognition by the General Assembly of the "inalienable right of the people of French Polynesia to the ownership, control and disposal of their natural resources, including marine resources and undersea minerals" beginning with Resolution 71/120 of 6 December 2016, and most recently by Resolution
(73/112) of 7 December 2018 which "urges the administering Power to ensure this permanent sovereignty pursuant to relevant resolutions of the General Assembly.

In this connection, it is to be noted that the annual resolution on the Implementation of the Decolonization Declaration applicable to all territories including Ma’ohi-Nui/French Polynesia consistently "urges the administering Powers to take effective measures to safeguard and guarantee the inalienable rights of the peoples of the Non Self-Governing Territories to their natural resources, and to establish and maintain control over the future development of those resources...".

The willful absence of the administering Power in participating in the work of this committee on the "Question of Ma’ohi-Nui/French Polynesia," in violation of the U.N. Charter, precludes the opportunity to assess their level of compliance with international law - or lack thereof - that clearly confirms that the ownership of these resources lies with the people of the territories.

Despite this clear "rule of law on natural resources," we continue to advise that the administering Power has kept full control and sovereignty over our natural resources in violation of international law.

These violations of the administering Power were examined in depth in the 2019 report “Enduring Colonization: How France’s Continuing Control of French Polynesian ResourcesViolates the International Law of Self-Determination,published by Blue Ocean Law, the Pacific Network on Globalisation, and the International Justice and Human Rights Clinic at Allard Law School, University of British Columbia.

Some of the key findings of the analysis are particularly poignant:

● France’s continued control over and interference with the islands’ resources

works to disenfranchise the people of Ma’ohi-Nui/French Polynesia, violating their fundamental right to self-determination, particularly their right to freely determine their own economic, social, and cultural development.

● In its recent efforts to develop seabed mining programs in the region, France continually asserts sovereignty over Ma’ohi-Nui waters. At the same time, it has failed to consult
with – let alone obtain the consent of – indigenous, coastal, and local communities within Ma’ohi-Nui/French Polynesia, who are most likely to be affected by this new extractive activity.

● The failure to clean up or otherwise remedy damage done by France’s 30 year nuclear testing program in the islands constitutes another violation of Ma’ohi-Nui people’s right to benefit from their natural resources and to chart a course of economic development of their own design. Existing military installations and contaminated atolls continue to affect terrestrial and marine resources and contribute to ongoing food insecurity, in addition to debilitating health and environmental impacts.

● Self-determination standards oblige a much greater devolution of powers from France to Ma’ohi-Nui/French Polynesia and the strict non-alienation of Ma’ohi-Nui people
from their natural resources.

Thank You, Madam Chair.