UNITED NATIONS PRESS RELEASE
Fourth Committee Approves Text on Implementing DecolonizationDeclaration by 130 Recorded Votes in Favour, 2 against, 2 Abstentions
Before it began its general debate on outer space issues today, the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) concluded its consideration of decolonization questions by approving a draft resolution on implementing the Declaration on Granting Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.
The Committee approved the draft by a recorded vote of 130 in favour to 5 against (Côte d’Ivoire, Israel, Morocco, United Kingdom, United States), with 2 abstentions (Colombia, France).
By its terms, the General Assembly would call upon administering Powers of Non-Self-Governing Territories to continue to cooperate with the Special Committee on Decolonization in the discharge of its mandate. The text would also have the Assembly call upon administering Powers to facilitate the Special Committee’s visiting missions to the Territories on a case-by-case basis, and ensure that economic and other activities in the Territories would not adversely affect their peoples’ interests but instead promote development.
Before the Committee was the draft resolution “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples”, contained in document A/71/23, chapter XIII, p. 56).
Action on Draft Resolution
The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking in explanation of position, said his delegation still found some elements of the text unacceptable and had voted against it, adding that the United Kingdom remained committed to modernizing its relationship with its Overseas Territories.
The representative of Argentina pointed out that visiting missions were only conducted in Territories over which there was no sovereignty dispute recognized by the United Nations. The Committee’s doctrine on that matter was clear, he said, emphasizing that each case should be considered individually and in accordance with the relevant resolutions.
The representative of the United States, while voicing her country’s full support for the right to self-determination, reiterated her concern that the Special Committee on Decolonization continued to call for independence in certain Territories, irrespective of the will of their peoples. The United States had joined the consensus on Territory-specific resolutions, as in previous years, but would call upon the Special Committee to respect the right of the Territories’ peoples to choose freely their political status in relation to their administering Power, including when a Territory chose to be in free association or to integrate with its administering Power.
The representative of Spain said he had voted in favour of the text because it supported the principle of self-determination. However, that was not the only principle in issues of decolonization, he said, adding that questions like Gibraltar involved the principle of territorial integrity. He said that his delegation had also indicated that visiting missions could only be undertaken in Territories where the right to self-determination applied, and not where a sovereignty dispute existed, emphasizing that the General Assembly must approve all visiting missions.