SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON DECOLONIZATION TO HOLD CARIBBEAN REGIONAL SEMINAR 23-25 MAY IN HAVANA

21 May 2001
GA/COL/3042/Rev.1

SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON DECOLONIZATION TO HOLD CARIBBEAN REGIONAL SEMINAR 23-25 MAY IN HAVANA

21/05/2001
Press Release
GA/COL/3042/Rev.1


                                                      GA/COL/3042/Rev.1*

                                                      21 May 2001


SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON DECOLONIZATION TO HOLD CARIBBEAN REGIONAL SEMINAR


23-25 MAY IN HAVANA


To Review Political, Economic, Social Conditions in Small Island Territories


The Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, also known as the Special Committee of 24 on decolonization, will hold a Caribbean regional seminar to review the political, economic and social conditions in the small island Non-Self-Governing Territories in Havana, Cuba, from 23 to 25 May.


The seminar is taking place within the framework of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (2001-2010) and coincides with the Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories (beginning 25 May).  It is being hosted by the Government of Cuba.


The main focus of the seminar will be to assess the situation in the Non-Self-Governing Territories, in particular their constitutional evolution towards self-determination.  It will also identify areas where the international community could increase and enhance its participation in assistance programmes and adopt a comprehensive and integrated approach to ensuring the political and sustainable socio-economic development of the Territories concerned.


The topics to be considered by the seminar include:


-- strategies for the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism;


-- role of the Special Committee in facilitating the decolonization of the Non-Self-Governing Territories;


-- development strategies for strengthening assistance to the Non-Self-Governing Territories by the United Nations system;


-- recent political, economic and social development in the Non-Self-Governing Territories, particularly in those in the Caribbean region; and


-- socio-economic conditions in the Non-Self-Governing Territories and their effect on decolonization.


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*     Revised to include additional background information.

The seminar will give priority to a broad range of views of the peoples of those Territories.  Participants will include organizations and institutions that are actively involved in the political, economic and social development of those Territories and of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with long and established experience in island Territories.


Julian Robert Hunte, Chairman of the Special Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Saint Lucia, will preside over the seminar and be assisted by eight members of the Committee:  Antigua and Barbuda, Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Fiji, Indonesia, Syria and Venezuela.  Given the importance of the seminar as the first of the new decade, the full bureau of the Special Committee would be present as well.


The Non-Self-Governing Territories are:  Western Sahara in Africa; American Samoa (United States), Guam (United States), New Caledonia (France), Pitcairn (United Kingdom), and Tokelau (New Zealand) in Asia and the Pacific; Anguilla (United Kingdom), Bermuda (United Kingdom), British Virgin Islands (United Kingdom), Cayman Islands (United Kingdom), Falkland Islands/Malvinas (United Kingdom), Gibraltar (United Kingdom), Montserrat (United Kingdom), St. Helena (United Kingdom), Turks and Caicos Islands (United Kingdom), and United States Virgin Islands (United States) in the Atlantic.


Members of the Special Committee of 24 are:  Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Chile, China, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Ethiopia, Fiji, Grenada, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Mali, Papua New Guinea, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Sierra Leone, Syria, Tunisia, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela and Yugoslavia.


Background Reports


Report of Secretary-General and Plan of Action: the report of the Secretary-General (document A/46/634/Rev.1) is submitted pursuant to Assembly resolution 43/47, which requested the Secretary-General to submit to the Assembly, at its forty-fourth session, a report that would enable it to consider and adopt an action plan aimed at ushering in the twenty-first century -- a world free from colonialism.


According to the report, in accordance with Assembly requests, the Secretary-General submitted three interim reports (documents A/44/800 of 27 November 1980, A/45/624 of 11 October 1990 and A/46/593 of 24 October 1991) relating to the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism.  Those reports reproduced the views and suggestions of Member States and organizations of the United Nations system and intergovernmental organizations.  The views and suggestions referred to are reflected in the annex to the present report and may enable the Assembly to consider and adopt an action plan.


Secretary-General's Report on Second International Decade for Eradication of Colonialism: The Secretary-General’s report (document A/56/61) states that the views and suggestions submitted by Member States which were summarized in the plan of action for the First Decade remain largely relevant to the Second Decade.  That plan of action had been updated as necessary, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 55/146.


The Plan of Action for the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, in the annex of the report, states that the ultimate goal of the Second Decade should be the full implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples through the exercise of the right to self-determination and independence by the populations of the remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories, in accordance with all relevant resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly and with the principles contained in the Declaration.


That plan contains action at the international level; areas in which the United Nations, in cooperation with the administering Powers, should take action as a matter of priority; areas in which action is requested of the administering Powers as a matter of priority; measures at the international level; role of the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system and non-governmental organizations; action by the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples; and coordination, review, appraisal and reporting.


Among other things, the international community should ensure that all political exercises relating to self-determination are carried out in an atmosphere free from intimidation and outside interference.  The United Nations, in cooperation with the administering Powers, should ensure that the peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories are kept fully aware of the political status options available to them through increased direct contacts with the elected leaders and with the peoples themselves.


The administering Powers should take the necessary measures to promote the political, economic, social, cultural and educational advancement of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, thereby facilitating their exercise of the right to self-determination.  They should ensure that any exercises of that right are not affected by changes in the demographic composition of the Territories under their administration as a result of immigration or the displacement of the peoples of the Territories.


Member States, in particular administering Powers, should take all necessary measures to protect the Non-Self-Governing Territories against environmental degradation and ecological damage and should refrain from the use of the remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories for military bases and installations.


The Special Committee should, among other things, prepare periodic analyses of the progress and extent of the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples in each Territory, and organize during the Second Decade seminars in the Caribbean and Pacific regions alternately, as well as at United Nations Headquarters, to review the progress achieved in the implementation of the plan of action.


Guidelines and Rules of Procedure: In its resolution 55/147 of 8 December 2000, the Assembly approved the programme of work of the Special Committee for 2001, including the organizing and holding of a seminar in the Caribbean region, which would be attended by representatives of all the Non-Self-Governing Territories.  The guidelines and rules of procedure (document A/AC.109/199/2) apply to this seminar and list places and dates of the meeting, its purpose and the agenda. 


The agenda includes strategies for the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialim; the role of the Special Committee in facilitating the decolonization of the Non-Self-Governing Territories; development strategies for strengthening assistance to the Non-Self-Governing Territories by the United Nations system; recent political, economic and social development in the Non-Self-Governing Territories, in particular in those in the Caribbean region; and socio-economic conditions in the Non-Self-Governing Territories and their effect on decolonization.  Annexed to the guidelines are the rules of procedure governing the seminar.


General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960, Declaration on Decolonization: By the terms of the resolution, the Assembly approved the principles which should guide Member States in determining whether or not an obligation exists to transmit the information called for in Article 73 e of the Charter, set out in Section V, part B, of the report of the Special Committee, as amended and as they appeared in the annex to the resolution.  The Assembly also decided that those principles should be applied in light of the facts and circumstances of each case to determine whether or not an obligation exists to transmit information under Article 73 e of the United Nations Charter.


[Article 73 e states that Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of Territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognize the principle that the interest of the inhabitants of those Territories are paramount, and, to that end, to transmit regularly to the Secretary-General statistical and other information of a technical nature relating to the economic, social and educational conditions in the Territories for which they are respectively responsible.]


By terms of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and People, the Assembly declared that alien subjugation, domination and exploitation of peoples constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights, is contrary to the United Nations Charter and is an impediment to the promotion of world peace and cooperation.  The Declaration also states that all people have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right, they freely determine their political status and freely determine their economic, social and cultural development.  Inadequacy of political, economic, social and educational preparedness should never serve as a pretext for delaying independence, the Declaration goes on to state.


The Declaration further states that all armed action or repressive measures of all kinds directed against dependent people shall cease in order to enable them to exercise peacefully and freely their right to complete independence, and the integrity of their national territory shall be respected.  Immediate steps shall be taken in trust, in Non-Self-Governing Territories or all other Territories which have not attained independence, to transfer all power to the people of those Territories, without any conditions or reservations, in accordance with their freely expressed will and desire, without any distinction as to race, creed and colour, in order to enable them to enjoy complete independence and freedom, continues the Declaration.


The Declaration goes on to state that any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and the territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Organization's Charter.  All States shall observe faithfully and strictly the provisions of the Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the present Declaration on the basis of equality, non-interference in the internal affairs of all States, and respect for the sovereign rights of all peoples and their territorial integrity.


Resolution on Second International Decade for Eradication of Colonialism: By the terms of resolution 55/146 of 8 December 2000, the General Assembly declared the period 2001-2010 the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism and called upon Member States to redouble their efforts to implement

the plan of action, as contained in the report of the Secretary-General, to serve as the plan of action of the Second International Decade.


By the same terms, the Assembly called upon the administering Powers to cooperate fully with the Special Committee to develop a constructive programme of work on a case-by-case basis for the Non-Self-Governing Territories to facilitate the implementation of the mandate of the Special Committee and the relevant resolutions of the United Nations on decolonization, including resolutions on specific Territories.


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For information media. Not an official record.