08 July 2019


Statement to Special Committee on Decolonization (C-24)

Mr. Richard Ariihau TUHEIAVA
Elected Member of the Assembly of French Polynesia
United Nations, New York, N.Y.
27th June 2019

Madam Chair,

Distinguished Members of the Special Committee,

I have the honour to address you in my capacity as an elected member of the House of Assembly of Ma’ohi-Nui/French Polynesia from the Tavini Huiraatira party.

Since the adoption of Resolution 67/265 of 17 March 2013, the General Assembly has adopted seven resolutions on Ma’ohi-Nui/French Polynesia calling for specific actions to be undertaken in furtherance of our decolonization process. These resolutions have recognized the inalienable right of our people to self-determination and independence, and have reaffirmed that Ma’ohi-Nui/French Polynesia remains a non self-governing territory within the meaning of the United Nations Charter.

The General Assembly also adopts its annual resolution on the implementation of this Decolonization Declaration which is applicable to all territories, including Ma’ohi-Nui/French Polynesia, which have not achieved a full measure of self-government. The Assembly adopted these resolutions on the self-determination and independence of our territory on the basis of careful review and assessment of the actual dependency relationship which existed in 2012, and which informed its consensus adoption of its resolution 67/265 of 17 March 2013. 

The political status of Ma’ohi-Nui/French Polynesia has not changed since 2013 despite cosmetic adjustments to the so-called Autonomy Statute made unilaterally by France in 2019 as an attempt to avoid a true self-determination process.

Madam Chair,

Accordingly, the General Assembly is consistently clear that Ma’ohi-Nui/French Polynesia “remains a non self-governing territory within the meaning of the (U.N.) Charter” and this should remain our point of departure. What must follow now are the ways and means to implement this General Assembly decolonization mandate through the actions adopted in its resolutions.

Continued violation by the administering Power of Article 73 of the U.N. Charter in withholding its cooperation with the U.N. on our territory can no longer be used as an excuse or rationalization for not implementing this mandate. On this point, this Committee may wish to consider strengthening its repeated language in resolutions which only politely expresses "regret that the administering Power has not responded to the request to submit information on French Polynesia under Article 73(e) of the U.N. Charter."

In fact, it is not a mere request. It is an international legal obligation that is being violated. The resolution on the question of Ma’ohi Nui/French Polynesia should reflect this noncompliance for what it is - a violation of the Charter which should be condemned, as in the
same language of General Resolution 1699(XVI) of 19 December 1961 on similar violations.

Since the re-inscription in 2013, a work programme for Ma’ohi-Nui/French Polynesia has been requested repeatedly, and included in the resolution on such territory. I wish to state again that this is the recognized approach to initiate the self-determination process. The outline of a work programme for Ma’ohi-Nui/French Polynesia has been drafted to update the procedure adopted by the General Assembly in its Resolution 57/91 of 6 December 1999, and
can be provided at the appropriate time.

This updated outline is divided into five phases beginning with
1) an in-depth examination of the intricacies of the dependency relationship between the territory and the administering Power, proceeding with 2) an extensive public education programme in the
territory with 3) a subsequent C-24 visiting mission, followed by 4) an act of self-determination to select a choice from the legitimate political status options. The 5th step phase concludes with the
transition to the full measure of self-government. 

The entire process would involve the participation of the relevant U.N. institutions.

Madam Chair,

This committee in its 2018 resolution on Ma’ohi-Nui/French Polynesia inexplicably recommended to the Fourth Committee the deletion of the entire operative paragraph that would have requested the Secretary-General to “provide continuous updates to his report on the environmental, ecological, health and other impacts of the 30-year period of nuclear testing in French Polynesia”. Our pleas to the C-24 and Fourth Committee that the language be restored could not be honored in 2018, but promises were made that the issue would be addressed this year.

We are very pleased that these promises were honoured and the language has been restored in this year’s draft resolution. We strongly request that the Committee ensures that the “continuous updates” requested of the Secretary-General in the resolution are far more extensive than the two previous reports. 

In this connection, I would humbly urge the researchers for the Secretary-General’s report to avail themselves of a broader range of information available in the public domain to include such documents as the 2014 Independent Report on “The French Nuclear Testing in French Polynesia” prepared by renowned scientists, or the compliant of the Tavini Huiraatira Party that was submitted to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) last 2 October 2018. 

Thank You, Madam Chair.

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