|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
‘Most Pressing Realities’ of Non-Self-Governing Territories Examined, Prospects
for Decolonization Assessed, as Pacific Regional Seminar Concludes in Ecuador
(Received from a UN Information Officer.)
QUITO, ECUADOR, 1 June — As the three-day Pacific Regional Seminar on the Implementation of the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism drew to a close today, the Chairman of the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization, Diego Morejón-Pazmiño of Ecuador, said participants had had the opportunity to bring to light the challenges still confronting the Non-Self-Governing Territories in the process of decolonization.
Ambassador Morejón-Pazmiño also extended his sincere thanks to the Government and people of Ecuador for having offered to host the Seminar, which had brought together a specially constituted delegation of the Special Committee, comprising the Bureau and members of regional groups, other United Nations Member States, including administering Powers, as well as representatives of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, civil society and non-governmental organizations and experts.
“We have had very important and fruitful discussions on the most pressing realities of the Territories as well as perspectives on the prospects for decolonization,” he stated. The conclusions and recommendations of the Seminar — held under the umbrella of the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (2011-2020) — would be considered by the Special Committee at its substantive session in June and then transmitted to the General Assembly.
In addressing the current realities facing the Non-Self Governing Territories, the Seminar discussed many issues related to the decolonization process, emphasizing their cross-cutting nature, as well as the need to address them in a comprehensive manner.
In the course of today’s discussion, for example, the representative of Indonesia referred to proposals put forward by Sierra Leone’s delegation on how to encourage Member States to become involved in the discussions with representatives of Non Self-Governing Territories, experts and international organizations, particularly United Nations agencies. He also voiced support for the Chair’s suggestions on possible modalities for engaging the administering Powers, including brainstorming sessions and informal dialogues between them and Committee members in New York, which focused on a few specific issues.
Agreeing with the delegations that the Seminar had indeed been an excellent forum for discussion, the representative of the Russian Federation encouraged the Special Committee to accelerate efforts to eradicate the last remnants of colonialism. Towards that goal, the representative of Papua New Guinea called for a set of specific goals to accomplish decolonization in the remaining 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories on the United Nations list. He also raised the importance of greater cooperation with the parties to reach agreements through dialogue.
The representative of Sierra Leone recalled the importance of carefully reviewing requests from Territories that wished to be removed from the list and, in that connection, underlined the need for further clarification on how to proceed in such situations.
Other speakers urged the Special Committee to continue providing opportunities to the Territories to convey their concerns. In the case of the southwest Pacific’s New Caledonia, the representative of France noted that the next few years would be critical, as the three referendums contemplated in the Nouméa Accord got closer. France was willing to explore new forms of dialogue, the representative said.
The delegate from Tunisia welcomed the interaction between the representatives of the Non-Self-Governing Territories and the delegates of the administering Powers. China’s delegate underscored the importance of the upcoming work, and recalled the imperative of an action plan. He offered his delegation’s cooperation to fulfil decolonization’s historical objective.
Also participating in the discussion were the representatives of Morocco and Algeria.
A representative of Frente Polisario also spoke.
Concluding comments were delivered by the delegates of Nicaragua, Cuba, and Chile.
Representatives of Montserrat and New Caledonia also made closing remarks, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations and experts.
At the conclusion of the Seminar, the Special Committee thanked Sergei Cherniavsky, Committee Secretary, for his commitment and service to the United Nations.
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