A forum for critical analysis of international issues and developments of particular relevance to the sustainable political and socio-economic development of Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).
15 December 2015
U.N. General Assembly adopts 2015 resolutions on decolonisation
"The nations of the world have once again approved global policies intended to to bring about full self-government for the remaining small island Caribbean and Pacific dependencies administered by European and North American countries. These agreed strategies for a genuine process of self-determination provide an essential roadmap for decolonisation, but can only be realised if the political will exists among the member States and U.N. system alike to carry out the implementation of these guidelines." - a Caribbean decolonisation expert.
General Assembly Adopts 28 Fourth Committee Texts Covering Issues Including Decolonization, Outer Space, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Two Actions Postponed until Later Date,
as Plenary Acts Directly on Three Drafts
Upon the recommendation of its Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization), the General Assembly adopted 25 draft resolutions and three draft decisions tackling issues ranging from decolonization issues to outer space activities, to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and beyond.
The Assembly also took direct plenary action, adopting three outstanding texts on the return or restitution of cultural property to the countries of origin, the situation in Afghanistan, and the report of the Economic and Social Council.
Closely following the Fourth Committee’s recommendations, it adopted, without a vote, a series of annual texts relating to the decolonization of specific Non-Self-Governing Territories. They included draft resolutions affirming the right to self-determination for the peoples of Western Sahara, New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Tokelau.
Also without a vote, the Assembly adopted the Fourth Committee’s annual “omnibus” draft 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.
It adopted a related draft resolution, “Information from Non-Self-Governing Territories transmitted under Article 73 e of the Charter of the United Nations”, by a recorded vote of 175 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States). By that text, the Assembly requested that the administering Powers concerned transmit regularly to the Secretary-General statistical and other information of a technical nature relating to economic, social and educational conditions in the Territories for which they were respectively responsible.
Meanwhile, it adopted a draft resolution on “Economic and other activities which affect the interests of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories” by a recorded vote of 176 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 2 abstentions (France, United Kingdom). By its terms, the Assembly affirmed the value of foreign economic investment undertaken in collaboration with the peoples of those Territories and in accordance with their wishes, in order to make a valid contribution to the socioeconomic development of the Territories, especially during times of economic and financial crisis.
By a recorded vote of 175 in favour to 3 against (Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 1 abstention (France), the Assembly also adopted a draft on “Dissemination of information on decolonization”, by which it requested that the United Nations undertake efforts to give publicity to its work in the field of decolonization.
The Assembly adopted another draft resolution — “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 a recorded vote of 126 in favour to none against, with 53 abstentions. By that text, the Assembly urged those and other organizations of the United Nations system that had not yet provided assistance to the Non-Self-Governing Territories to do so as soon as possible.
A draft resolution titled “Offers by Member States of study and training facilities for inhabitants of Non-Self-Governing Territories” was adopted without a vote. In addition, the Assembly postponed until a later date its consideration of a draft resolution, “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples”, pending a review by the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) of the programme budget implications of adopting that text.
Taking up two draft resolutions on questions relating to information, the Assembly adopted both without a vote, the first being a text titled “Information in the service of humanity” and the second, “United Nations public information policies and activities”.