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Declaration on the Granting of Independence
to Colonial Countries and Peoples
50th Anniversary, 14 December 2010

Background

The Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, adopted in 1960, affirmed the right of all people to self-determination and proclaimed that colonialism should be brought to a speedy and unconditional end.  The text states that the subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights, contravenes the United Nations Charter and impedes the promotion of world peace and cooperation.

Two years later, a Special Committee on decolonization was established to monitor its implementation.

In 1990, the Assembly proclaimed the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (1990-2000), which included a specific plan of action. In 2001, it was followed by a Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (2001-2010). In 2011, it was followed by the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (2011-2020).

The past 10 years have seen several achievements, in particular the independence of East Timor as Timor-Leste and thus its successful decolonization. Furthermore, there was considerable progress on the question of Tokelau.

As a result, since the creation of the United Nations, 80 former colonies have gained their independence.  This includes all 11 Trust Territories, which have achieved self-determination through independence or free association with an independent State.  The Special Committee continues to examine the situation in the remaining 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories, and to recommend, as appropriate to the General Assembly the most suitable steps to be taken.