26/06/2002
Press Release
GA/COL/3069



Special Committee on

Decolonization

10th Meeting (AM)


DECOLONIZATION COMMITTEE APPROVES THREE TEXTS ON MILITARY INSTALLATIONS,


NUCLEAR WEAPONS, ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES IN TERRITORIES


Concluding Current Session, Committee Also Approves Mission to Tokelau


The Special Committee on Decolonization concluded its work for the current session this morning with the adoption of three texts, all without a vote, and the approval of a visiting mission to the Pacific Non-Self-Governing Territory of Tokelau.


By a decision on military activities and arrangements by colonial Powers in Territories under their administration, the Committee deplored the continued alienation of land in colonial and Non-Self-Governing Territories, particularly in the small island Territories of the Pacific and Caribbean regions, for military installations.  It reiterated that existing bases and installations, which are impeding the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, should be withdrawn.


Also, the Committee reiterated that the colonial and Non-Self-Governing Territories and areas adjacent thereto should not be used for nuclear testing, dumping of nuclear wastes or deployment of nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction.


By another text, the Committee decided to follow the situation in the Territories so as to ensure that all economic activities there are aimed at strengthening and diversifying their economies in the interest of their peoples, including the indigenous populations, and at promoting the economic and financial viability of those Territories. 


Also, the Committee urged the administering Powers concerned to take effective measures to safeguard and guarantee the inalienable right of the peoples of the Territories to their natural resources and to establish and maintain control over the future development of those resources, and request the administering Powers to take all necessary steps to protect the property rights of the peoples. 


Also this morning, the Committee urged Member States to contribute to the efforts of the United Nations to usher in the twenty-first century in a world free of colonialism, and called on them to continue to give their full support to the


Committee in its endeavours towards that noble goal.  The Committee took that action as it adopted, as orally revised, the text on the questions of American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guam, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the United States Virgin Islands.


Among the provisions of that text, the Committee requested the administering Powers concerned to keep the Secretary-General informed of the wishes and aspirations of the people regarding their future political status, bearing in mind the views of the people of the Territory ascertained through a democratic process.  Further, the Committee called on the administering Powers and all States, organizations and United Nations agencies to continue to assist the Territories in social and economic development.


Following action on the texts, the representative of the Russian Federation confirmed his country’s traditional position on the question of Non-Self-Governing Territories as related to specialized agencies and military installations.  He said his country may take a different position when considering those questions in the Fourth Committee or the General Assembly.


In other action, the Committee accepted the invitation of New Zealand to send a visiting mission to Tokelau in August to examine the political, economic and social development of the Territory and to ascertain the true wishes and aspirations of the people of the Territory.  In that connection, the Committee also decided to schedule one more meeting to enable it to consider, approve and submit the expected report of the mission to the fifty-seventh session of the General Assembly.


In addition, the Committee adopted its report for the current session, as contained in document A/AC.109/2002/L.16.


In closing, Committee Chairman Earl Stephen Huntley (Saint Lucia) expressed his appreciation to all Committee members for the support extended to him as well as all to the Secretariat staff for their hard work.


Background


The Special Committee on Decolonization met this morning to conclude its work for the current session. 


The Committee had before it a draft decision submitted by the Chairman on military activities and arrangements by colonial Powers in Territories under their administration (document A/AC.109/2002/L.10) by which it would deplore the continued alienation of land in colonial and Non-Self-Governing Territories, particularly in the small island Territories of the Pacific and Caribbean regions, for military installations.  It would reiterate that existing bases and installations, which are impeding the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, should be withdrawn.


Also, the Committee would reiterate that the colonial and Non-Self-Governing Territories and areas adjacent thereto should not be used for nuclear testing, dumping of nuclear wastes or deployment of nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction.  Further, it would reaffirm its strong conviction that military bases and installations in the Territories concerned could constitute an obstacle to the exercise by the people of those Territories to their right to self-determination.  


The Committee also had before it a draft resolution, submitted by the Chairman, on economic and other activities which affect the interests of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories (document A/AC.109/2002/L.11), which would have the Committee decide to follow the situation in the Territories so as to ensure that all economic activities there are aimed at strengthening and diversifying their economies in the interest of their peoples, including the indigenous populations, and at promoting the economic and financial viability of those Territories. 


Also, the Committee would urge the administering Powers concerned to take effective measures to safeguard and guarantee the inalienable right of the peoples of the Territories to their natural resources and to establish and maintain control over the future development of those resources, and request the administering Powers to take all necessary steps to protect the property rights of the peoples. 


In addition, the Committee would call on the administering Powers concerned to ensure that no discriminatory working conditions prevail in the Territories under their administration and to promote in each Territory a fair system of wages applicable to all the inhabitants without any discrimination.  It would also appeal to the mass media, trade unions and non-governmental organizations, as well as individuals, to continue their efforts to promote the economic well-being of the peoples of the Territories. 


Also before the Committee is a consolidated draft resolution submitted by the Chairman on the questions of American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guam, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the United States Virgin Islands (document A/AC.109/2002/L.15/Rev.1).  By the text, the Committee would urge Member States to contribute to the efforts of the United Nations to usher in the twenty-first century in a world free of colonialism, and call on them to continue to give their full support to the Committee in its endeavours towards that noble goal.

Among other things, the Committee would call for an enhanced and constructive dialogue between the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the concerned territorial Governments towards achieving the highest standards of financial supervision, and request the administering Powers to assist those Territories in this matter. 


With regard to the individual Territories, the Committee would also request the administering Powers concerned to keep the Secretary-General informed of the wishes and aspirations of the people regarding their future political status, bearing in mind the views of the people of the Territory ascertained through a democratic process.  Further, the Committee would call on the administering Powers and all States, organizations and United Nations agencies to continue to assist the Territories in social and economic development.


Also for its consideration, the Special Committee had before it a letter dated 25 June from the Charge d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of New Zealand to the United Nations addressed to the Chairman of the Committee (document A/AC.109/2002/27), in which he extends an invitation from New Zealand, as administering Power, to the Committee to visit Tokelau and Wellington for discussions from 12-20 August.


The report of the Committee is contained in document A/AC.109/2002/L.16. 


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