24 June 2013

U.N. Decolonisation Committee adopts resolutions on 11 small territories and implementation of decolonisation mandate

18 June 2013
General Assembly

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
Special Committee on Decolonization
7th Meeting (AM)


The Special Committee on Decolonization approved four draft resolutions today, including one by which the General Assembly would stress the importance of implementing the plans of action for the Second and Third International Decades for the Eradication of Colonialism, in particular by expediting the application of the work programme for the decolonization of each Non-Self-Governing Territory, on a case-by-case basis.

By other terms of that text (document A/AC.109/2013/L.8), the Special Committee would have the Assembly stress the importance of the various constitutional exercises in the Territories administered by the United Kingdom and the United States, respectively, designed to address internal constitutional structures within the present territorial arrangements (Ed. Note: colonial reform is not decolonisation).  Also by the text, the Assembly would urge Member States to contribute to efforts of the United Nations to usher in a world free of colonialism within the context of the International Decades for the Eradication of Colonialism.

Acting by consensus, the 24-member Special Committee — responsible for monitoring implementation of the 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples in 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories — approved an “omnibus” draft resolution on the questions of American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guam, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands and the United States Virgin Islands. (Editor'sNote: The Special Committee on Decolonization actually has 29 members). 

Before the Special Committee were 11 related working papers prepared by the Secretariat, which provide background information and updates on the latest legal and political developments, as well as economic and social conditions in the Non-Self-Governing Territories. 

The Special Committee also approved, also by consensus, a draft resolution titled “Implementation of the Declaration of the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples” (document A/AC.109/2013/L.9), by which the General Assembly would urge 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.  It would also have the Assembly urge all States, directly and through their actions in the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system, to provide moral and material assistance to the Territories.

The Special Committee then approved, again without a vote, a text titled “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 its terms, the General Assembly would urge United Nations specialized agencies and other related organizations to provide assistance to Non-Self-Governing Territories.

Following that action, the representative of the Russian Federation confirmed his delegation’s support for the granting of independence to colonial nations and peoples, but noted that consideration of such matters in the Economic and Social Council was “highly political” and diverted that organ’s attention from the matters it was mandated to handle.  However, the Russian Federation did not oppose the consensus on the text, he said. 

The Special Committee then approved a draft resolution on economic and other activities affecting the interests of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories (document A/AC.109/2013/L.11), by which the General Assembly would call upon the administering Powers concerned to ensure that no discriminatory working conditions prevailed in the Territories under their administration, and to promote in each Territory a fair system of wages applicable to all the inhabitants without discrimination.

In other matters, the Special Committee decided to postpone, until Friday, action on a draft resolution relating to the question of New Caledonia.  The representative of Papua New Guinea, who requested the postponement, said multilateral negotiations were taking place this week and he hoped to present a detailed statement on the text following their conclusion.  Additionally, he welcomed the input of the administering Power, France, on the draft.

On the question of New Caledonia, the Special Committee had before it a Secretariat working paper (document A/AC.109/2013/16) providing constitutional, political and legal developments, as well as a summary of its economic and social conditions.

The Special Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. Thursday, 20 June, to continue its work.

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