13 July 2011

Association of Pacific Island Legislatures Supports Guam Self-determination process


By Therese Hart

Guam Reporter . HAGÅTÑA — During the recent 30th General Assembly Conference held in Palau, member island nations of the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures passed a resolution supporting Guam’s struggle for self-determination and the decision of its residents to hold a plebiscite.

The APIL members vowed to acknowledge and support, “both in their country of origin and in international bodies that they may be party to, the struggle for Guam’s self-determination and the decision of the People of Guam that may come of any plebiscite,” according to the resolution.

Speaker Judi Won Pat, who is the current APIL vice president, said: “As our island moves toward our self-determination, it is important to ask for the support of our regional family. Many of the members of the Association of the Pacific Island Legislatures have permanent missions to the United Nations – and they are in the perfect position to support whatever status our people choose for our future in that international body. I am excited that the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas has passed their own resolution in support of our path so quickly after the APIL General Assembly, and I thank them sincerely for their efforts.”

The United States placed Guam on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories in 1946, and Guam is still identified as such at both a national and international level.

Regional leaders from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of Nauru, the Republic of Kiribati, and the Federated States of Micronesia, which is composed of the States of Yap, Chuuk, Kosrae and Pohnpei, are all members of the United Nations, where they either participate, or are able to participate, as independent countries, and take part in important votes regarding the direction of the United Nations. They have all vowed to support the “decolonization of Guam.”

Won Pat said it was important that Guam’s quest is supported and endorsed by its neighboring islands and she hoped that APIL members will promote, recognize and work to support Guam’s path to political self-determination at local, national and international levels.

“This is important because when our colleagues from these neighboring islands bring up Guam during conversations at these levels, it causes a ripple effect and we are maximizing our network so that the conversation will circulate, therefore, we will not be ignored or forgotten,” said Won Pat.