12 June 1997


Press Release
GA/COL/2964



SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON DECOLONIZATION HEARS STATEMENT ON QUESTION OF UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS

19970612
The Special Committee on decolonization should make a clear statement that the failed 1994 referendum in the United States Virgin Islands should never be cited to deprive its people of the opportunity to effect a legitimate act of self-determination, according to a representative of the Territory which addressed the Committee this afternoon, as it continued consideration of the situation in the Non-Self-Governing Territories.

Carlyle Corbin, speaking on behalf of the Governor of the United States Virgin Islands, said fewer than 50 per cent of the registered voters had taken part in the referendum. The current language of the draft resolution on small territories appeared to give validity to the outcome of the referendum and it should be changed to reflect the insufficient voter participation.

He proposed that the Special Committee should report to the General Assembly on the implementation of the resolution on the Territories, as well as the plan of action for the International Decade on the Eradication of Colonialism.

The best way to defend the usefulness of the Special Committee seminars was to show confidence in their outcome and by forwarding their reports to the General Assembly, he said. The draft resolution should therefore also contain an operative paragraph stating that the report of the recent seminar in Antigua and Barbuda had been adopted by the Special Committee.

The representative of Papua New Guinea said the Special Committee would consider incorporating Mr. Corbin's suggestions into its draft resolution on Non-Self-Governing Territories.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 13 June, to continue its deliberations.

* *** *