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The United Nations and Decolonization

International Trusteeship System

In 1945, under Chapter XII of the Charter, the United Nations established the International Trusteeship System for the supervision of Trust Territories placed under it by individual agreements with the States administering them.

Under Article 77 of the Charter, the Trusteeship System applied to:

The basic objective of the System was to promote the political, economic and social advancement of the Territories and their development towards self-government and self-determination. It also encouraged respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and recognition of the interdependence of peoples of the world.

The Security Council in 1994 terminated the United Nations Trusteeship Agreement for the last Territory - the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Palau), administered by the United States - after it chose self-government in a 1993 plebiscite. Palau became independent in 1994, joining the United Nations as its 185th Member State.

In the early years of the United Nations, 11 Territories were placed under the Trusteeship System. Today, all 11 Territories have either become independent States or have voluntary associated themselves with a State. With no Territories left in its agenda, the Trusteeship System had completed its historic task.