11 May 2000

Press Release



NEW YORK, 11 May -- The Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, also known as the Special Committee of 24, will hold a Pacific regional seminar in Majuro, Marshall Islands, from 16 to 18 May 2000.

The seminar will assess the achievements of the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, the role of the Special Committee of 24, and the political and socio-economic conditions of nearly 2 million people in the remaining 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories. The seminar is the last of the series of regional seminars held within the framework of the International Decade due to conclude in 2000, and in accordance with the Plan of Action adopted under General Assembly resolutions 46/181 and 54/91. It is being hosted by the Government of the Marshall Islands.

Peter D. Donigi, the Permanent Representative of Papua New Guinea to the United Nations and the Chairman of the Special Committee, will preside over the seminar. He will be assisted by seven members of the Special Committee -– Bolivia, C(te d’Ivoire, Cuba, India, Iran, Russian Federation and Syria -- who are participating in the seminar.

The Special Committee has invited the representatives of the Non-Self- Governing Territories, the administering Powers, Member States, regional organizations, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, experts, specialized agencies and programmes of the United Nations to participate in the discussions at the seminar.

The participants are expected to address questions and issues relating to Non-Self-Governing Territories, including:

-- An assessment of the International Decade and a forward look on its follow-up;

-- The role of the Special Committee; the development of criteria or indicators of self-government; the development of an education campaign for the Territories; strengthening of cooperation with the administering Powers and the importance of the participation of representatives of the Territories; the importance of visiting missions:

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-- The political, economic, social and educational development in the Non- Self- Governing Territories; and

-- Developing strategies for strengthening assistance to the Territories by the United Nations system.

The discussions will contribute to the formulation of concrete proposals for measures that can be taken by the Special Committee, the administering Powers, and the specialized agencies and the international community at large, which would enable the peoples of these Territories to exercise their right to choose their own political future in accordance with the resolutions of the General Assembly. The conclusions or recommendations of the seminar will also assist the Special Committee of 24 in carrying out its own evaluation of the achievements of the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism and in formulating its future work plans.

The opening of the seminar will also observe the Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories, which is commemorated the week of 25 May.

Following are the 17 remaining Non-Self Governing Territories: Western Sahara, American Samoa (United States), East Timor (under the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor, established by Security Council resolution 1272 (1999) of 25 October 1999), Guam (United States), New Caledonia (France), Pitcairn (United Kingdom), Tokelau (New Zealand), Anguilla (United Kingdom), Bermuda (United Kingdom), British Virgin Islands (United Kingdom), Cayman Islands (United Kingdom), Falkland Islands/Malvinas (United Kingdom), Gibraltar (United Kingdom), Montserrat (United Kingdom), St. Helena (United Kingdom), Turks and Caicos Islands (United Kingdom), and United States Virgin Islands (United States).

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