18 December 2014

Autonomy is the overwhelming choice of voters in Sint Eustatius political status referendum

Special to
Overseas Territories Review


By C.L. de Otero
Associate Editor



(Oranjestad, Dec. 17) The political status option of Autonomy was the overwhelming victor among four choices in the December 17 constitutional referendum in Sint Eustatius, according to preliminary results revealed hours after the polls closed at 9:00 PM. 

The winning option of "Autonomy within the Kingdom" (of the Netherlands) virtually doubled the number of votes for the status quo option of “Public Entity” which is a form of partial integration with clear democratic deficiencies according to experts.

STATIATOURISM.COM

The voter turnout, estimated at almost 46 per cent, was below the threshold of 60 per cent required in the Island Council Referendum Ordinance. But since the exercise was non-binding, it is unclear whether this percentage would matter in the face of wide support for the Autonomy option. 

The possible disenfranchisement of an undetermined number of persons was seen by many as a factor in the turnout, with a number of potential voters being turned away at the polls by election officials who required voting cards before persons could be permitted inside the polling station to cast their ballot. It had been widely announced leading up to the referendum that voters would be able to use their proper identification without the need for the voting card, but voters were turned back in significant numbers, nevertheless. There were indications that most of those turned away were supporters of the Autonomy option. 

There were widespread reports that large numbers of potential voters had not received their voting cards by mail, with the documents being returned to the Census Office which was responsible for conducting the poll. That office had been shifted from the jurisdiction of the former Central Government in Curacao to the control of the Dutch Government following the imposition of the partially integrated public entity status in 2010. The poll was being conducted, in part, to endorse or reject such shift of jurisdiction from local to Dutch authorities which had been a constant theme in the run-up to the referendum.  

The conduct of the poll was accompanied by a significant change of rules traditionally governing island elections, according to several civil society leaders. The hours for the Census Office operations were extended past its announced closing time in an attempt to provide voters with the proper document to vote and to clarify the new rules in place. It was unclear, however, as to how many voting card issues were actually resolved unde the extended hours. 

Another matter which had arisen was the relocation of the voting station from the centrally-located Public Library to a lesser accessible locale in the countryside. Many voters outside the polling place commented on the difficulties encountered in organizing transportation to the site, especially for the elderly. 

It is still too early to determine the next steps in the process. On the one hand, those who favored the status quo option, which was so widely defeated, could argue for its continuation by default since the 60 per cent threshold had not been met. On the other hand, the autonomists have cited the overwhelming support expressed by the voters for the autonomy option even amid the obstacles its supporters encountered in voting, emphasizing that the tally would have been even stronger in their favor if so many of its supporters had not been denied the right to vote. 

In any case, just how the results of the December 17 referendum will be utilized in the future political development of this Dutch-controlled ‘public entity’ will likely be determined by the local political leadership which is facing island elections in March 2015. 

The reaction of the Dutch, meanwhile, will also be awaited since procedures were already underway to validate, or 'anchor', the current status in the Dutch Constitution. This would make it more difficult for any future change of status. The overwhelming support for Autonomy might give them pause, at least until the conclusion of the Dutch evaluation of the present status slated to be completed by the end of 2015. 

Many autonomist advocates, on the other hand, have emphasized that the public entity status does not meet international standards of full self-government, and had argued for a referendum on the self-governing political options of independence, free association and independence as recognized by the United Nations. Many had called for the U.N. listing of Sint Eustatius as a non self-governing territory of the U.N. Decolonization Committee in order that a proper self-determination process could be instituted. This call may become much louder if the clear choice of the voters for autonomy is somehow ignored by island and Kingdom authorities.

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For background on the Sint Eustatius referendum, see:

Sint Eustatius political status referendum set for December 17



17 December 2014

New Caledonia: U.N. General Assembly wants Noumea Accord to be respected in the territory's upcoming act of self-determination







United Nations General Assembly Resolution


Question of New Caledonia



          The General Assembly,

          Having considered the question of New Caledonia,

          Having examined the 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 2014 relating to New Caledonia,[1]

          Reaffirming the right of peoples to self-determination as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations,

          Recalling its resolutions 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960 and 1541 (XV) of 15 December 1960,
          Noting the importance of the positive measures being pursued in New Caledonia by the French authorities, in cooperation with all sectors of the population, to promote equitable political, economic and social development in the Territory, including measures in the area of environmental protection, in order to provide a framework for its peaceful progress to self-determination,

          Noting also, in this context, the importance of continued dialogue among the parties involved in New Caledonia in the preparation of the act of self-determination of New Caledonia,

          Recalling the report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples on the situation of Kanak people in New Caledonia, submitted to the Human Rights Council at its eighteenth session, held from 12 to 30 September and on 21 October 2011,[2] following his visit to the Territory in February 2011,

          Noting with satisfaction the intensification of contacts between New Caledonia and neighbouring countries of the South Pacific region, including through the hosting of New Caledonian delegates in the French diplomatic and consular missions in the region,

          Recalling the conclusions of the eighteenth Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders Summit held in Suva on 31 March 2011 and the recommendations for the annual monitoring and assessment of the Nouméa Accord,[3]

          Welcoming the exchange of letters between the Department of Political Affairs of the Secretariat and the Melanesian Spearhead Group secretariat on the sharing of information on New Caledonia,

          Mindful that New Caledonia has entered the most seminal phase of the Nouméa Accord process, a period that requires continued close monitoring by the United Nations of the situation in the Territory in order to help the people of New Caledonia to exercise their right to self-determination in accordance with the objectives set out in the Charter and the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples,

          Welcoming the Charter of the Kanak people, common base of the fundamental values and principles of the Kanak civilization, which was proclaimed in April 2014 by the customary authorities, Great Chiefs, Chiefs, Presidents of District Councils and Presidents of the Clan Chiefs Councils, as the sole traditional custodians of the Kanak people of New Caledonia,

          Welcoming also the dispatch of a United Nations visiting mission to New Caledonia in March 2014,

          Having heard the statement of the Chair of the visiting mission,

          Having examined the report of the United Nations visiting mission to New Caledonia,[4]

          Welcoming the cooperation of the administering Power with regard to the work of the Special Committee relating to New Caledonia and its readiness for and concurrence with the dispatching of the 2014 visiting mission,

          Having heard the statement of the representative of the administering Power,

          Acknowledging the successful conduct by New Caledonia of municipal and provincial elections in May 2014,

          Taking note of the information presented to the Pacific regional seminar on the implementation of the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism: accelerating action, held in Nadi, Fiji, from 21 to 23 May 2014, on the situation in the Territory, including on the issues related to the 2014 elections,

          Aware of the challenges encountered in the 2014 provincial electoral process, particularly with regard to the work of the special administrative committees in updating the special electoral roll, the non-existence of the supplementary electoral roll from 1998 and the unavailability of the 1998 general electoral roll prior to 2014, and their potential impact on the referendum on self-determination,


          1.       Approves the 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 2014 relating to New Caledonia;1

          2.       Also approves the report, observations, conclusions and suggested recommendations of the United Nations visiting mission to New Caledonia conducted in 2014;4

          3.       Expresses its appreciation to the administering Power and the Government of New Caledonia for the close cooperation and assistance extended to the visiting mission;

          4.       Notes the concerns expressed regarding the challenges encountered in the provincial elections process with respect to the persistent varying interpretations of the restricted electorate provisions and the voter registration appeal process, and encourages the administering Power and the people of New Caledonia to address in an amicable manner the concerns of all stakeholders under the existing relevant laws in the Territory and in France, while also respecting and upholding the spirit and letter of the Nouméa Accord;3

          5.       Expresses the view that adequate measures for conducting the upcoming consultations on access to full sovereignty, including a just, fair and transparent electoral roll, as provided in the Nouméa Accord, are essential for the conduct of a free and genuine act of self-determination consistent with United Nations principles and practices;

          6.       Calls upon France, the administering Power, in the light of the observations, conclusions and suggested recommendations of the visiting mission, to consider developing an education programme to inform the people of New Caledonia about the nature of self-determination so that they may be better prepared to face a future decision on the matter, and requests the Special Committee to provide all available assistance in that regard;

          7.       Commends the observations, conclusions and suggested recommendations of the visiting mission to the Government of France, as the administering Power, and the Government of New Caledonia for appropriate action;

          8.       Urges all the parties involved, in the interest of the people of New Caledonia and within the framework of the Nouméa Accord, to maintain their dialogue in a spirit of harmony in order to continue to promote a framework for the peaceful progress of the Territory towards an act of self-determination in which all options are open and which would safeguard the rights of all sectors of the population, based on the principle that it is for the populations of New Caledonia to choose how to determine their destiny;

          9.       Notes that, at its eleventh meeting, held on 11 October 2013, the Committee of Signatories of the Nouméa Accord, inter alia:

          (a)     Examined the transfer of powers undertaken in 2013 and conducted an initial review of the work of the interministerial standing committee responsible for supporting the transfer of powers under way or completed;

          (b)     Considered proposed amendments to the Organic Law of 19 March 1999 relating to New Caledonia and a draft law containing various provisions related to overseas territories, including several measures concerning New Caledonia;

          (c)     Considered the work of the steering committee to assess progress under the Nouméa Accord, welcomed the outcome of the working group established in 2013, and called for its continuation;

          (d)     Took note of the discussion paper presented by the mission responsible for considering the institutional future of New Caledonia, and agreed that it could be used as a basis for work and debate with a view to preparing for the referendum prescribed by the Nouméa Accord and that it should be widely disseminated;

          (e)     Discussed the conditions under which preparations would be made for the referendum after the provincial elections in 2014 with the assistance of France, if requested;

          (f)      Noted the status of the discussions on nickel markets and activities undertaken within the framework of the Conference of Presidents, and reiterated the need to build a coherent, long-term industrial strategic framework, with the participation of all stakeholders, in order to ensure the sustainable future development of mining and metallurgical activities and to maximize their socioeconomic benefits;

          (g)     Noted with satisfaction the work accomplished by the special congressional commission responsible for adopting a flag that expresses both the Kanak identity and the future to be shared by all;

          (h)     Examined the work carried out for the establishment of structured mechanisms for the advancement of New Caledonians in the civil service, particularly the sovereign civil service;

          10.     Reaffirms its resolution 68/87 of 11 December 2013, in which the General Assembly, inter alia, reaffirmed that, in the absence of a decision by the Assembly itself that a Non-Self-Governing Territory has attained a full measure of self-government in terms of Chapter XI of the Charter of the United Nations, the administering Power concerned should continue to transmit information under Article 73 e of the Charter with respect to that Territory;

          11.     Notes the continuing concerns expressed by the Kanak people regarding their underrepresentation in governmental and social structures, incessant migratory flows and the impact of mining on the environment;

          12.     Commends the “Cadres for the future” programme, and encourages further enhancement of the training and capacity-building of high-level executives in the public and private sectors in the Territory, particularly in view of the ongoing transfer of powers from the Government of France to New Caledonia, while ensuring that the transfer of powers is undertaken in a manner consistent with the Nouméa Accord;

          13.     Recalls the observations and recommendations contained in the report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples on the situation of Kanak people in New Caledonia,2 made in the light of relevant international standards, to assist with ongoing efforts to advance the rights of the Kanak people in the context of the implementation of the Nouméa Accord and the United Nations-supported decolonization process;

          14.     Welcomes the strengthening of the economic and social rebalancing initiatives undertaken by the administering Power, and urges its continuation in all areas and communities of the Territory, especially of the well-being of the Kanak indigenous people;

          15.     Encourages the administering Power, with the cooperation of the Government of New Caledonia, to ensure and enhance safeguards for and guarantees of the inalienable right of the people of the Territory to own, access, use and manage their natural resources, including proprietary rights for their future development;

          16.     Recalls the relevant provisions of the Nouméa Accord to the effect that New Caledonia may become a member or associate member of certain international organizations, and notes the continuing strengthening of ties between New Caledonia and both the European Union and the European Development Fund;

          17.     Welcomes the accession of the Front de libération nationale kanak socialiste to the Chair of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, the hosting, for the first time in New Caledonia, in June 2013, of the meetings of officials and leaders of the Group and the opening, in February 2013, of the Front de libération nationale kanak socialiste unit at the headquarters of the Group secretariat in Port Vila;

          18.     Acknowledges the contribution of the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre to the protection of the indigenous Kanak culture of New Caledonia;

          19.     Welcomes the cooperative attitude of other States and Territories in the region towards New Caledonia, its economic and political aspirations and its increasing participation in regional and international affairs;

          20.     Takes note of the information shared by participants from New Caledonia at the Pacific regional seminar on the implementation of the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism: accelerating action held in Nadi, from 21 to 23 May 2014, including on measured progress made in the social, economic, political and environmental spheres and more focused efforts, particularly on the rebalancing initiatives and electoral roll concerns, necessary for the long-term shared mutual benefit of all New Caledonians, and urges the administering Power and the Government of New Caledonia to devote appropriate attention to addressing these issues;

          21.     Welcomes the peaceful conduct of provincial elections in New Caledonia on 11 May 2014, the preceding municipal elections and the subsequent ongoing efforts to form a new Government of New Caledonia, and encourages constructive engagement by all stakeholders in further developing New Caledonia for all, including by respecting and upholding the Nouméa Accord;

          22.     Also welcomes the actions taken by the administering Power to continue to transmit to the Secretary-General information as required under Article 73 e of the Charter, particularly the submissions on 4 February and 15 May 2014 on the most recent developments in New Caledonia;

          23.     Notes the agreement between the signatories to the Nouméa Accord that the progress made in the emancipation process shall be brought to the attention of the United Nations;

          24.     Decides to keep under continuous review the process unfolding in New Caledonia as a result of the signing of the Nouméa Accord;

          25.     Requests the Special Committee to continue the examination of the question of the Non-Self-Governing Territory of New Caledonia and to report thereon to the General Assembly at its seventieth session.





      [1] Official Records of the General Assembly, Sixty-ninth Session, Supplement No. 23 (A/69/23), chap. IX.
      [2]  A/HRC/18/35/Add.6, annex.
      [3]  A/AC.109/2114, annex.
      [4]  A/AC.109/2014/20/Rev.1.

16 December 2014

Sint Eustatius political status referendum set for December 17

Special to OTR

Autonomous country status within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, partial integration (public entity) or full integration  into Holland, or independence? 


At the October 2010 dismantling of the former Netherlands Antilles of which Sint Eustatius (Statia) was a part, the two more populated islands of Curacao and Sint Maarten attained separate country status within the Kingdom of the Netherlands consistent with earlier referenda and subsequent negotiations with the Kingdom of the Netherlands. 

Meanwhile, the smaller islands of Saba and Bonaire had chosen a form of “direct ties” to the Kingdom in their respective referenda, resulting in a form of partial integration with Holland as one of the four countries of the Kingdom. The fifth, Sint Eustatius (Statia) had voted in its 2005 referendum  to remain as part of the autonomous country of the Netherlands Antilles. But since all od the islands except Statia had chosen to end that multi-island governance arrangement, the prevailing Statia leadershidecided to accept the same status of “direct ties” as had its smaller island counterparts. 



After four years of the emergence of the “public entity status” of partil integration, and amid increasing public support for a referendum on political status alternatives, the Statian leadership decided to consult its people on whether to confirm the present status, or whether a new political direction should be followed. 

The December 17th referendum will serve as the opportunity to re-visit whether the current status is what the people actually desire, or whether an alternative option would be a better path going forward. Once an option is chosen, Statia's leadership would begin negotiations with the Kingdom on how to make the chosen option a reality. 

An electoral observation team from the United Nations Electoral Affairs Division of the Department of Political Affairs is monitoring the vote. 



THE OPTIONS 


Autonomy within the Kingdom

Statia could choose an autonomous status within the Kingdom. This is the status that the majority of the people voted for in the referendum of 2005. However that choice was for autonomy was together with Saba, Bonaire, Sint Maarten, and Curacao as the multi-island Netherlands Antilles. This became moot when the other four islands voted to effectively dismantle the multi-island grouping.

The separate autonomous country status available for Statia in the 2014 referendum is to be an autonomous country in its own right within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, like Curacao and Sint Maarten. As an autonomous country, Statia would have a political relationship with the Kingdom Government, and not just with one of its countries (Holland). The laws of Holland would not be applied to an autonomous Statia, and the Kingdom laws would be applied only after consultation with the Statia political leadership. 

An autonomous Statia would become one of the several autonomous countries of the Kingdom, like Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten, with its own constitution and laws. Unlike the present public entity status, there would be a representative known as the Minister Plenipotentiary in the Kingdom Parliament to speak on behalf of Statian interests. 

Autonomy would provide the distinct international personality for Statia to become associate members or observers to regional organizations such as The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Association of Caribbean States, and various United Nations specialized agencies. Statia would also maintain its Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) status with the European Union.  

Autonomy would allow for expanded trade and transportation links with neighboring countries such as Saint Kitts and others throughout the region. This would provide additional trade and business options, and provide for an expanded market for Statia goods and services. Under the autonomous status, the ownership and control of the natural resources would be the subject of negotiations. 


“Public Entity” Status (status quo) 


St. Eustatius could remain in the current status of partial integration as a public entity of Holland, with citizenship of the Kingdom, and could negotiate for potential improvements for the political relationship to be more balanced since the present situation allows for laws and regulations to be applied to Statia without consent. At the same time, there is no political representation for Statia in Holland which would give Statians a voice in how these laws and regulations are applied. Any changes recommended to the public entity status would have to be agreed by Holland. A five-year evaluation is  currently underway by the Kingdom to determine how the public entity status is functioning. 


Full Integration


Statia could also move from the present partial integration to full integration similar in scope to what French St. Martin had within the French Republic until moving to an autonomous collectivity status in 2007. This status had provided French St. Martiners with full political, economic and social rights in the French system within the framework of the multi-island French overseas department status. 

A fully integrated status for Statia would provide for full rights in Holland, while Statia may also modify its present “Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)” status with the European Union (EU) to that of an EU Outermost Region (OR). 

Full integration would require the approval of Holland since it would have to accept Statia under equal political, economic and social terms. Full integration would also require Statia to take on a fuller set of responsibilities, such as increased taxes and other obligations, but there would also be the right to vote in the full range of Dutch elections provided the necessary changes are made to the Dutch Constitution. 

Independence


Statia under independence would provide for full internal self-government. It would allow the freedom to develop its own system of government with its own constitution. It would also permit full membership in regional organizations, and full membership in the United Nations. Independence in the 21st Century is different than in the past, as today's world is much more inter-dependent. This is especially important for countries with a small land mass and small population like Statia. 

An independent Statia would rely on its links with the region and the wider world to assist its development process through participation in various development banks in the Caribbean and global development institutions. An independent Statia would challenge the people to develop the type of economy of their choosing, and to create opportunities for earning revenue to fund the needs of the society.

An independent Statia could maintain the present use of the United States dollar as its official currrency, adopt another international currency like the Euro or even the Eastern Caribbean dollar, or create its own currency. As an independent country, Statia would own and control its natural resources, including the marine resources of the exclusive economic zone. 

An independent Statia, as the other two political status options of integration or autonomy, would not be achieved overnight. Independence would require a transition period where significant assistance would come from the Kingdom Government, as well as from the United Nations and other international bodies to help build the capacity of the people of Statia to run their own affairs, and to work closely with the international community of nations.


POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE OPTIONS

CITIZENSHIP

Integration

The Europe Union citizenship would be retained.

Public Entity
The Europe Union citizenship would be retained.

Autonomy
The Europe Union citizenship would be retained.

Independence
A separate Statia citizenship would be created with possible preferential provisions for access to the Caribbean, Europe and North America.

POLITICAL REPRESENTATION

Integration

Integration does not provide for political representation in Holland. An enhanced integration could provide for representation under changes to the Dutch constitution.

Public Entity
Public Entity does not provide for political representation in Holland. An enhanced integration could provide for representation under changes to the Dutch constitution.

Autonomy
The autonomous country status provides for a minister plenipotentiary in the Second Chamber in the Parliament of the Kingdom.

Independence
Statia would be represented by an Ambassador with full diplomatic privileges and immunities.

CONSTITUTION

Integration
Integrated Statia would not have its own constitution but would subsumed under the Constitution of Holland.

Public Entity
Public Entity would not have its own constitution but would subsumed
 under the Constitution of Holland.

Autonomy
An autonomous Statia would have its own constitution adopted by the people for the exercise of all powers not under the jurisdiction of the Kingdom Government and the Kingdom Charter.

Independence
An independent Statia would have its own constitution adopted by the people under no limitation of the Kingdom Charter.

APPLICATION OF LAWS/TREATIES

Integration
Under integration, laws and treaties can be applied without the consent of, or consultation with Statia. An enhanced public entity status, subject to negotiation, may provide for a measure of consultation.

Public Entity
Public Entity, laws and treaties can be applied without the consent of, or consultation with Statia. An enhanced public entity status, subject to negotiation, may provide for a measure of consultation

Autonomy
Under autonomy, Statia would consult with the Kingdom Government through its minister plenipotentiary in the Netherlands on the applicability of laws and treaties.

Independence




As an independent country, no laws or treaties could be applied, but agreements could be entered into by Statia with the Kingdom and other countries.



Economic circumstances would also be impacted by the various political status options including such areas as currency, trade and international commerce, ownership of natural resources, and other areas.

In the selection of the official currency, the partially-integrated public entity status, if enhanced, could retain the existing flexibility in which official currency could be used, with the ultimate determination made by the Kingdom. Full integration might require the adoption of the Euro as in the case of the French departments of Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana. Under an autonomous status, or independence, Statia could create its own currency as was done with respect to the Netherlands Antilles Guilder, or adopt an international currency like the U.S. Dollar as is being contemplated by the autonomous country of Sint Maarten. 

In the area of international trade and commerce, full integration would not provide the sufficient international personality for Statia to engage in international trade without the consent of the Kingdom. An enhanced public entity status may provide a limited competency at the direction of the Kingdom Government. 

An autonomous Statia, on the other hand, could conduct some international trade within the parameters of overall Dutch trade policy, and would be eligible to participate in relevant  international trading regimes. An independent Statia would be able to trade freely and to enter into global and regional trade agreements independently.  

A fully-integrated Statia would find the ownership and control of natural resources, including marine resources, solely under the jurisdiction of the Kingdom. An enhanced public entity status would not likely result in any change in this ownership. An autonomous Statia may find scope for negotiation on this resource ownership under powers mutually agreed, while independence would bring the ownership and control of  these resource solely within the realm of an Independent state of Sint Eustatius. 


15 December 2014

American Samoa: U.N. calls for U.S. approval of U.N. visiting mission


                           
United Nations General Assembly
Resolution on American Samoa

The General Assembly,

          Taking note of the working paper prepared by the Secretariat on American Samoa[1] and other relevant information,

          Taking note also of the statement made by the representative of the Governor of American Samoa at the Pacific regional seminar held in Nadi, Fiji, from 21 to 23 May 2014 that, while the Territory enjoyed a great deal of self-government, its current legal status was seen as an anachronism that exposed the Territory to situations beyond its control and needed to be remedied,

          Noting the constitutional amendment, approved in 2014 and to be put to the vote at the end of the year, that would give the Fono, the Territory’s legislature, the authority to override the Governor’s veto,

          Noting also, in that regard, the announcement of a voter education process ahead of the constitutional amendment poll,

          Aware that, under United States law, the Secretary of the Interior has administrative jurisdiction over American Samoa,[2]

          Recalling the position of the administering Power and the statements made by representatives of American Samoa at regional seminars inviting the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples to send a visiting mission to the Territory,

          Aware of the work of the Future Political Status Study Commission, completed in 2006, the release of its report, with recommendations, in January 2007 and the creation of the American Samoa Constitutional Review Committee, as well as the holding in June 2010 of the Territory’s fourth Constitutional Convention,

          Noting, in that regard, that, in 2013, the Governor recalled the recommendation of the Future Political Status Study Commission that American Samoa continue as an unorganized and unincorporated Territory, and that a process of negotiation with the United States Congress for a permanent political status be initiated,

          Acknowledging the indication by the territorial Government, including at the 2014 Pacific regional seminar, that the effects of certain federal laws on the economy of the Territory give serious cause for concern,

          Aware that, in July 2012, the United States passed Public Law 112-149, which includes a provision to delay the minimum wage increases in American Samoa, as provided by United States Public Law 110-28, until September 2015,

          Aware also that American Samoa continues to be the only United States Territory to receive financial assistance from the administering Power for the operations of the territorial Government,

          1.       Welcomes the work of the territorial Government with respect to moving forward on political status, local autonomy and self-governance issues with a view to making political and economic progress and in particular the announcement of a dialogue, to commence in 2015, among the people of American Samoa on the Territory’s future political status;

          2.       Expresses once again its appreciation for the invitation extended in 2011 by the Governor of American Samoa to the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples to send a visiting mission to the Territory, 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 steps necessary to that end;

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

          4.       Calls upon the administering Power to assist the territorial Government in the diversification and sustainability of the economy of the Territory and to address employment and cost-of-living issues;




      [1]  A/AC.109/2014/13.

      [2]  United States Congress, 1929 (48 U.S.C. Sec. 1661, 45 Stat. 1253), and Secretary’s Order 2657, Department of the Interior, United States of America, 1951, as amended.