UN General Assembly Committee urges self-determination for Puerto Rico

13 June 2006 –

The special committee of the United Nations General Assembly that deals with decolonization issues today adopted a text calling for an expedited process in Puerto Rico to determine what kind of relationship the territory’s population would prefer to have with the United States.

The unanimously adopted resolution, sponsored by Cuba, calls for an investigation into the 23 September assassination of pro-independence leader Filiberto Ojeda Rios and violent acts against others.

It also calls on the United States to respect fundamental human rights in Puerto Rico, pay for the clean-up and decontamination of areas of the island affected by United States military activities, and address the ensuing serious environmental and health consequences.

As in previous years, the special committee’s text called on the President of the United States to release Puerto Rican political prisoners serving prison sentences for more than 25 years for cases relating to the struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico and the demilitarization of Vieques Island, which had been used for combat exercises by the US military.

Many petitioners speaking today and yesterday, including representatives of Puerto Rico’s main political parties, supported the text, saying that the island’s current relationship with the United States was deeply flawed and had stunted its socio-economic development and allowed the exploitation of its natural resources by American companies and the United States Navy.

The decolonization committee was 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.

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