CHAIRMAN OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON DECOLONIZATION CALLS FOR SUPPORT FOR SELF-DETERMINATION OF NON-SELF-GOVERNING TERRITORIES19970528
The United Nations Regional Caribbean Seminar, held in St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda, from 21 to 23 May, observed the Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of All Colonial Territories Fighting for Freedom, Independence and Human Rights. On that occasion, the Chairman of the Special Committee on decolonization, Utula Utuoc Samana (Papua New Guinea), made the following statement:
Since 1972, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 2911 (xxvii), the governments and peoples of the world have been observing annually a Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of All Colonial Territories. This celebration is in full accord with the purposes and tenets embodied in the Charter of the United Nations and is in conformity with the principles enshrined in the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, which is contained in Assembly resolution 1514 (XV).
The United Nations success in the field of decolonization is universally recognized. Hundreds of millions achieved self-determination and gained their freedom and independence in the surge of decolonization following the creation of the United Nations. Their membership in the United Nations as sovereign States strengthened the fundamental basis of the international community.
We remember the history of the struggles against colonialism and pay tribute to all those who took part in them. We remain mindful of the sacrifices that made it possible for hundreds of millions of people to achieve self-determination and independence.
However important the success in the field of decolonization, the task of complete eradication of colonialism is still unfinished and requires further concerted and determined action on the part of all those involved. There are still peoples who have not been able to exercise their right to self-determination. These are mostly peoples of small island Non-Self- Governing Territories, located mainly in the Pacific and Caribbean regions. They are confronted by the problems of their small size and population, geographic remoteness, limited natural resources, and vulnerability to natural disasters. Their situations require new and innovative solutions geared towards the implementation of the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, launched by the General Assembly in 1988.
- 2 - Press Release GA/COL/2958 28 May 1997
Convinced as we are that in the decolonization process there is no alternative to the principle of self-determination, we once again reiterate the legitimacy of all options of self-determination consistent with General Assembly resolutions 1514 (XV) and 1541 (XV), as long as it is ascertained that they are the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned. We should continue to exercise flexibility and realism in our endeavours to complete the process of decolonization. The wishes of the peoples of the Non-Self- Governing Territories should be safeguarded when examining once again the options of self-determination available to them.
We further appeal for the strengthened and continued support of the administering Powers, whose cooperation with the Special Committee is essential for the progress of the Territories towards self-determination. We hope that the informal dialogue between the Special Committee and the administering Powers, initiated last year, will lead to formal cooperation. We count on the support of the specialized agencies and other organizations within the United Nations system, which should continue to assist the Non- Self-Governing Territories in enhancing their standard of living and promoting their self-sufficiency. We count on regional and international organizations, which should explore new avenues to provide the Non-Self-Governing Territories with legal and political opportunities for participating in programmes that relate to their environment and livelihood. We count on support for our efforts from all Member States and non-governmental organizations.
We hope and believe that our combined, unrelenting efforts will ensure the fulfilment of the promise of freedom, lasting peace, sustained growth and sustainable development for all the peoples of our planet, in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
* *** *