3 September 2008
General Assembly

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

Special Committee on


12th Meeting (PM)

special committee on decolonization approves draft decision

recommending that ecuador become its twenty-eighth member

The Special Committee on Decolonization decided unanimously today to recommend that the General Assembly appoint Ecuador as a member of the body traditionally known as the “Special Committee of 24”.

If adopted by the General Assembly, the draft decision would increase from 27 to 28 the membership of the Special Committee, which is formally called the Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.

In introducing the proposal (document A/AC.109/2008/L.16), Special Committee Chairman Marty N. Natalegawa ( Indonesia) said Ecuador had participated in the body’s work as an observer for a number of years.  As the Special Committee always embraced those who were keen to engage with its work, Ecuador’s membership application had been a very positive gesture.

The representatives of Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines expressed their support for Ecuador’s request for membership.

Maria Hernandez Espinosa ( Ecuador) thanked all members for approving the draft decision and reiterated her country’s commitment to the principles of the Special Committee and the United Nations.  Hopefully Ecuador could make a contribution to the implementation of the Special Committee’s mandate as it was firmly committed to supporting self-determination and democracy.

At the outset of the meeting, the Chairman expressed the Special Committee’s sympathy and solidarity with those countries that had suffered under the impact of Hurricane Gustav, in particular Special Committee member Cuba.

The Special Committee’s current members are:   Antigua and Barbuda; Bolivia; Chile; China; Congo; Côte d’Ivoire; Cuba; Dominica; Ethiopia; Fiji; Grenada; India; Indonesia; Iran; Iraq; Mali; Papua New Guinea; Russian Federation; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Sierra Leone; Syria; Timor-Leste; Tunisia; United Republic of Tanzania; and Venezuela.

Adopted by the General Assembly in 1960, the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples proclaims the right of all people to self-determination, and the need for a speedy and unconditional end to colonialism.  In 1962 the Assembly established the Special Committee on Decolonization to monitor implementation of the Declaration and make recommendations on its application.

Since the creation of the United Nations, more that 80 former colonies have gained their independence, though 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories remain on the Organization’s decolonization list:  American Samoa; Anguilla; Bermuda; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); Gibraltar; Guam; Montserrat; New Caledonia; Pitcairn; Saint Helena; Tokelau; Turks and Caicos Islands; United States Virgin Islands; and Western Sahara.

A decision by the General Assembly on Ecuador’s membership is expected in December.

For more information, see www.un.org/Depts/dpi/decolonization.

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

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For information media • not an official record