27 May 2008
General Assembly
GA/COL/3175

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Special Committee on

Decolonization

3rd Meeting (AM)


SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON DECOLONIZATION APPROVES THREE TEXTS CONCERNING DISSEMINATION


OF INFORMATION, VISITING MISSIONS TO NON-SELF-GOVERNING TERRITORIES


The Special Committee on Decolonization this morning approved three draft resolutions on information from Non-Self-Governing Territories; dissemination of information on decolonization; and the question of sending visiting and special missions to Territories.


By the terms of the draft resolution on Dissemination of information on decolonization (document A/AC.109/2008/L.5), passed without a vote, the General Assembly would approve the activities in the field of dissemination of decolonization information undertaken by the Departments of Public Information and Political Affairs, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions on decolonization, in particular the preparation of the information leaflet entitled What the UN Can Do to Assist Non-Self-Governing Territories, issued in March 2007, and encourage wide dissemination of that document.


Also by that text,the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to further enhance the information provided on the United Nations decolonization website by including the full series of reports of the regional seminars on decolonization, the statements and scholarly papers presented at those seminars, and links to the full series of reports of the Special Committee, formally known as the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.


In addition, the Assembly would request the Department of Public Information to continue its efforts to update web-based information on the assistance programmes available to Non‑Self-Governing Territories.  By further terms of the text, the Assembly would request the two departments to implement the recommendations of the Special Committee and to continue their efforts to take measures through all available media, including publications, radio and television, as well as the Internet, to give publicity to the work of the United Nations in the field of decolonization.


Acting again without a vote, the Special Committee approved the draft resolution on the Question of information from Non-Self-Governing Territories transmitted under Article 73 e of the Charter of the United Nations (document A/AC.109/2008/L.4), by which the Assembly would reaffirm that, in the absence of a decision by the General Assembly itself that a Non-Self-Governing Territory had attained a full measure of self-government in terms of Chapter XI of the Charter, the administering Power concerned should continue to transmit information under Article 73ewith respect to that Territory.


The Assembly would request the administering Powers concerned, in accordance with their Charter obligations, to transmit or continue to transmit regularly to the Secretary-General for information purposes, statistical and other technical information relating to economic, social and educational conditions in the Territories for which they were respectively responsible, as well as the fullest possible information on political and constitutional developments in the Territories concerned, including the constitution, legislative act or executive order providing for the territorial government and the Territory’s constitutional relationship to the administering Power, within a maximum period of six months following the expiration of the administrative year in those Territories.


Also without a vote, the Special Committee approved a text on the Question of sending visiting missions to Territories (document A/AC.109/2008/L.6) by which the General Assembly would stress the need to dispatch periodic visiting missions to Non-Self-Governing Territories in order to facilitate the full, speedy and effective implementation of the Decolonization Declaration, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions and the Plan of Action of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism.


By other terms, the Assemblywould call upon the administering Powers that had not yet done so to cooperate or continue to cooperate with the United Nations by facilitating visiting missions to the Territories under their administration.  It would also request the administering Powers to cooperate fully with the Special Committee in exploring the possibility of undertaking visiting or special missions in furtherance of the decolonization mandate of the General Assembly.


At the outset of the Special Committee’s consideration of those texts, Carolyn Schuler-Uluc, Officer-in-Charge of the Strategic Communications Division of the United Nations Department of Public Information, and Freda Mackay, Chief of the Decolonization Unit of the Department of Political Affairs, highlighted their respective departments’ activities regarding the dissemination of information about the Organization’s decolonization efforts.


Ms. Schuler-Uluc, introducing the Secretary-General’s report on the dissemination of information on decolonization (document A/AC.109/2008/18) covering the period from April 2007 to March 2008, said that, during that time, the General Assembly had adopted a resolution requesting the Department to empower United Nations information centres to disseminate materials to Non-Self-Governing Territories.  However, limited resources had made it difficult for the centres to carry out that request, leading the Department to disseminate information directly from Headquarters.


Despite that, some centres had indeed been involved in information dissemination, she said, citing the Canberra centre, which had actively publicized the October 2007 referendum in Tokelau and been able to send daily updates to Headquarters.  Those updates, in turn, had been used by news outlets such as the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France Presse and BBC.


Meanwhile, in response to questions raised at the Special Committee’s last session regarding United Nations radio programmes on Non-Self-Governing Territories, she said the Department had prepared a list of radio broadcasters, despite difficulties in tracking the use of United Nations radio programmes by broadcasters.


Ms. Mackay, reporting on her Department’s support activities in disseminating information about the Organization’s work on decolonization, said that, in preparing the Secretariat’s working papers on the subject, the Department had gathered information from a variety of sources, including participants at the Special Committee’s recent Pacific Regional Seminar in Bandung, Indonesia.  It had also prepared, in partnership with the Department of Public Information, a publication entitled What the UN Can Do to Assist Non-Self Governing Territories, which had been disseminated at the Seminar and elsewhere, as had a leaflet entitled The United Nations and Decolonization, Questions and Answers, containing information on options available to the Territories with respect to their future status.


She added that the prototype of a new website on decolonization to be presented to the Bureau of the Special Committee was expected to contain various decolonization documents, including those relating to that body’s activities and decisions.  Given the challenge of disseminating information to remote small island Territories, efforts had been made to share United Nations material through email with former participants in the regional seminars, and to encourage them to make such information available on the ground.


Committee Chairman Marty Natalagewa ( Indonesia) announced that the Special Committee would take up an item on the Special Committee’s decision of 12 June 2006, concerning the hearing of petitioners from Puerto Rico, on 9 and 10 June.  Twenty-six requests for hearing had been received to date.


The Special Committee will meet again at a date to be announced.


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For information media • not an official record