24 November 2014

U.N. General Assembly Presidents join growing global call for implementation of international decolonisation mandate

Special to Overseas Territories Review

The Council of Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly (CPGA-UN) has called for the introduction of special mechanisms to implement the self-determination process for the remaining dependent territories presently under annual review by the United Nations General Assembly.

This was one of a series of recommendations adopted by the CPGA-UN during its Fall 2014 Annual Session at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The recommendation was included in the Final Communique adopted at the conclusion of the of the Council meeting. 

Secretary-General Meets Former Assembly Presidents
U.N. Secretary-General  Ban Ki-moon (2nd left) meets with the Council of Presidents of the U.N. General Assembly (CPGA-UN)and its Executive Secretary during the Council's 2014 Session at U.N. Headquarters in New York.  UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

Excerpts from the 2014 Communique

"The Council of Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly, 

Welcomes the adoption by the General Assembly of Resolution 68/97 of 11 December 2013 on the Implementation of the (Decolonization) Declaration, and related resolutions on the question,

Urges the Special Committee on Decolonization to rationalize its method of work so as to speed up the implementation of the Declaration,

Laments that the number of non self-governing territories, rather than decreasing in numbers, has increased by one to include French Polynesia by General Assembly Resolution 67/265 of 17 May 2013, and

Supports the implementation of the 2006 Plan of Implementation for the Decolonization Mandate including, inter alia, the appointment of an independent expert to undertake an assessment of the progress and extent of self-determination in the remaining territories."

Chairman of the Council of Presidents of the U.N. General Assembly (CPGA) and President of the 58th Session of the U.N. General Assembly Sir Julian R. Hunte (2nd right) convenes CPGA meeting with senior U.N. officials during the 2014 Session of the CPGA. From right, President of the 57th Session and CPGA vice chair H.E. Mr. Jan Kavan; Chairman Hunte; President of the 69th Session of the General Assembly H.E. Mr. Sam Kahamba Kutesa; Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Jan Eliasson; St. Lucia Ambassador to the United Nations H.E. Menissa Rambally, and Dr. Carlyle Corbin, Executive Secretary of the CPGA-UN.  

Council of Presidents of the U.N. General Assembly (CPGA-UN) pose with Director of U.N. Counter Terrorism of the Department of Political Affairs Dr. Jehangir Khan (left) at the close of the CPGA  2014 Council Session. (Left to right) Dr. Khan, H.E. Mr. Amara Essy, President, Forty-Ninth Session;  H.E. Mr. Sam Kahamba Kutesa, President of the 69th session; H.E. Sir Julian R. Hunte, President of the 58th Session; H.E. Dr. Han Seung-soo, President, Fifty-Sixth Session; H.E. Dr. Srgjan Kerim, President, Sixty-Second Session; Dr, Carlyle Corbin, CPGA executive Secretary; and H.E. Jan Kavan, President, Fifty-Seventh Session.   

The 2014 recommendations on international self-determination and decolonisation process followed earlier conclusions adopted by the Council in its 2013 communique:


                 Excerpts from the 2013 Communique

"The Council of Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly,

Recognises the historic role of the General Assembly in the self-determination process of dependent territories, and that the successful decolonization of over eighty territories since World War II was in large measure as a result of the political, material and other support provided by the United Nations;

Expresses concern that only two territories have successfully been decolonized since the 1990s, and that the that the countries which administer the majority of the remaining territories have withdrawn their cooperation from the Special
Committee on Decolonization resulting in little progress being made in the implementation of the United Nations decolonization mandate contained in the Charter, General Assembly resolutions and human rights instruments;

Takes note that the number of non self-governing territories has been increased by one for a total number of seventeen on the United Nations official list under Chapter XI of the Charter pursuant to the adoption by the General Assembly of
resolution 67/265 of 17 May 2013 on the "Self-determination of French Polynesia", and notes the adoption by the Special Committee on Decolonization last June of its first resolution ever on "The Question of French Polynesia."

Welcomes the participation of H.E. Oscar Temaru, five-time president of French Polynesia, his extensive briefing on the challenges to the decolonization process in his country, his request to the United Nations for assistance in the public education campaign of the territory in order to heighten the awareness of the people of their valid political status options in conformity with the principle of full and absolute political equality, and issues related to the effects of atomic radiation on the people as a result of 30 years of nuclear testing during the Cold War;

Calls for the use of innovative means to give effect to the United Nations decolonization mandate including the use of special mechanisms such as an Independent Expert/Special Rapporteur, expert groups or other relevant modalities to examine in depth the political situation in each of the remaining territories, and to advise the President of the General Assembly and the Secretary-General of suitable means to implement the decolonization mandate in these territories."