13 November 2012

Guam Student Global Forum reaffirms right to self-determination


27th October 2012


The Right to Self-Determination in the Twenty-First Century 

The Global Forum,

Having considered the question of the right to self-determination in the 21st Century; 

Having examined the United Nations Charter, in particular, Article 73 (b) which calls for countries which administer territories to develop full self-government in those territories through a process of self-determination; 

Recognizing that all available options for self-determination of the territories are valid as long as they are in accordance with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples, and on the basis of full and absolute political equality; 

Noting that the options of full and absolute political equality available to the peoples are political integration (statehood), free association and independence, and that the specific characteristics and the aspirations of the peoples of the territories require innovative approaches to self-determination; 

Convinced that the wishes and aspirations of the peoples of the territories should guide the development of their future political status, and that referendums and elections play an important role in ascertaining the wishes and aspirations of the people; 

Conscious of the vulnerability of the territories to natural disasters and environmental degradation; 
Aware that the United States of America (USA) maintains territories in the Pacific region including American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, and that both the USA and Canada have significant indigenous populations. 

Recognizing that the United States has adopted the International Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which affirms the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination; 

Bearing in mind that the countries of the African Group, in particular Comoros, Ghana, Mauritius, and Algeria have all previously exercised their right to self-determination, and have expressed their support for the further exercise of that right in the remaining territories; 

Noting that in the Asia and Pacific group, China has successfully re-integrated Hong Kong and Macau, that New Zealand maintains the territory of Tokelau while also having a free association relationship with the Cook Islands and Niue, that Fiji and Papua New Guinea have already exercised their respective rights to self-determination, and support the further exercise of that right in the remaining territories according to the wishes of the people; 

Also noting that Palau has exercised its right to self-determination by entering into a free association arrangement with the United States which gives the former territory full internal self-government with the USA controlling defense; 

Further noting that in the Latin American and Caribbean group the countries of Dominica and Jamaica have also exercised their right to self-determination, and continue to support the self-determination of their neighboring territories; 

Taking into account that Argentina is engaged in a sovereignty dispute with the United Kingdom over the Falkland Islands/Malvinas, and that Ecuador continues to support the self-determination of the remaining territories; 

Recalling that the United Kingdom maintains the most territories throughout the world, mainly in the Caribbean region, that France is promoting a self-determination process with its territory of New Caledonia, that Spain maintains enclaves off the coast of Africa and that Denmark has entered into an innovative autonomous relationship with Greenland; 

1. Reaffirms the inalienable right of the peoples of the territories to self-determination, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and relevant human rights conventions, 

2. Also reaffirms that, in the process of decolonization, there is no alternative to the principle of self-determination, which is also a fundamental human right, as recognized under the relevant human rights conventions; 

3. Further reaffirms that it is ultimately for the peoples of the territories themselves to determine freely their future political status, and calls for the development of public education programmes for the territories in order to foster an awareness among the peoples of their right to self-determination in conformity with the legitimate political status options based on the principles of full political equality; 

4. Calls for the establishment of programs of information on self-government in the territories to advance the process of self-determination, and to take all steps necessary to enable the peoples of the territories to exercise their right to self-determination; 

5. Reaffirms the importance of 1) preserving the cultural identity of the territories, of 2) the strengthening and diversification of the territorial economies, and of 3) conserving and protecting the environment; 

6. Calls for effective measures to safeguard and guarantee the inalienable rights of the peoples of the territories to their natural resources, to establish and maintain control over the future development of those resources, and to protect the property rights of the peoples of the territories.