|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Completing Decolonization Process Will Require Concerted Efforts of All
Concerned, Secretary-General Tells Special Committee
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the opening of the 2011 session of the Special Committee on Decolonization, in New York, today, 24 February:
I am pleased to join the Special Committee as it begins its work for 2011.
This year marks the beginning of the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism. Let us focus our attention on accomplishing concrete results with the involvement of all concerned: the Special Committee, the administering Powers and the Non-Self-Governing Territories.
Last December, we commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, adopted by the General Assembly. On that occasion, I appealed to the international community to realize the full spirit of the Declaration, which called for “the immediate and complete elimination of the colonial system in all its forms and manifestations”, in keeping with the principles of the United Nations Charter. The Special Committee has a crucial role to play as the intergovernmental body exclusively devoted to advancing the United Nations decolonization agenda.
Today, 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories remain on the list, awaiting constructive, results-oriented initiatives. On a case-by-case basis, those Territories have to be given the opportunity to exercise their right to self-determination in order to take the interests of their peoples fully into account. Colonial situations are completely outdated and must be addressed with renewed vigour and creativity.
Last year, in my report to the General Assembly on the “Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism”, I recalled that the Assembly had requested the Special Committee to continue to seek suitable means for the immediate and full implementation of the Decolonization Declaration. In practice, this would mean that the Committee could assess its past work and achievements in order to chart a way forward, together with the administering Powers, for the ultimate benefit of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories.
Your current work on devising a plan of action for the Third International Decade, and the forthcoming 2011 Caribbean Seminar on Decolonization, might prove instrumental in that regard. It is my hope that difficulties encountered in the recent past will gradually be overcome, thereby strengthening the Committee’s determination to develop effective formal and informal modalities that would help it accomplish its mandate.
The completion of the process of decolonization will require the concerted efforts of all concerned: first and foremost, the Special Committee, the administering Powers, and the peoples in the Non-Self-Governing Territories. Dialogue aimed at improving cooperation between the Special Committee and the administering Powers continues to be of utmost importance.
The Secretariat will spare no effort to assist the Committee in its work. But this can be no substitute for the choices, decisions and actions expected of the Special Committee.
I wish you every success in your important endeavour.
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