Special Committee on Decolonization Approves Texts on Hearings Requests from Non-Self-Governing Territories, Dissemination of Information

11 June 2012

Special Committee on Decolonization Approves Texts on Hearings Requests from Non-Self-Governing Territories, Dissemination of Information

11 June 2012
General Assembly
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Special Committee on Decolonization

3rd Meeting (AM)

Special Committee on Decolonization Approves Texts on Hearings Requests


from Non-Self-Governing Territories, Dissemination of Information


The Special Committee on Decolonization this morning, resuming its session, approved by consensus requests for hearings from several Non-Self-Governing Territories in the coming days, as well as three draft resolutions on the transmission and dissemination of information on decolonization.

It approved those requests from petitioners from the Falkland Islands (Malvinas)*, Western Sahara and Guam, and on its 21 June 2010 decision concerning Puerto Rico.  Thus far, 28 organizations had requested a hearing on the decision, and that number would likely increase by the time that item was discussed on 18 June, according to Special Committee Chair Diego Morejon Pazmino (Ecuador).

The 24-member Special Committee monitors implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence of Colonial Countries and Peoples in 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories under its purview.  It makes recommendations on that matter, hears statements from representatives of the Territories, dispatches visiting missions, and organizes seminars on the political, social and economic situations in them.  Additionally, it annually makes recommendations on information dissemination to drum up public support for the decolonization process.

By the terms of the first resolution, on “Information from Non-Self-Governing Territories transmitted under Article 73 e of the Charter of the United Nations” (document A/AC.109/2012/L.3), the General Assembly would ask the administering Powers to transmit or continue to transmit regularly to the Secretary-General statistical and other technical information on the economic, social and educational conditions in the Territories for which they are responsible, within a maximum period of six months following the expiration of the administrative year in those Territories.  The Secretary-General would continue to ensure that adequate information was drawn from all available published sources to prepare the working papers on the Territories concerned.

The second text, on “Dissemination of Information on Decolonization” (document A/AC.109/2012/L.4), would have the Assembly ask the Secretary-General to further enhance information on the United Nations decolonization website and to continue to include the full series of reports of the regional seminars on decolonization, statements and scholarly papers presented at those seminars and links to the full series of reports of the Special Committee.  The Department of Political Affairs and the Department of Public Information would be asked to implement the Special Committee’s recommendations and to continue their efforts through all available media to publicize the Organization’s work on decolonization.

The third draft, on the “Question of sending visiting and special missions to Territories” (document A/AC.109/2012/L.5), stressed the need to dispatch periodic visiting missions to Territories in order to facilitate the full, speedy and effective implementation of the Declaration.  Administering Powers that had not yet done so would be called upon to cooperate or continue to cooperate by facilitating United Nations visiting missions to the Territories under their administration and to explore the possibility of conducting visiting or special missions.

Before taking action on those texts, Mr. Morejon drew the Special Committee’s attention to the Secretary-General’s report on information from Non-Self-Governing Territories transmitted under Article 73 e of the Charter of the United Nations (document A/67/71).  He said it contained important information from the administering Powers of those Territories that enabled the Special Committee to thoroughly consider their situations.  

After action on the texts, Yasuhiro Ueki, Chief of the Programme Support Section of the Information Centres Service of the Department of Public Information’s Strategic Communications Division, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on dissemination of information on decolonization during the period from April 2011 to March 2012 (document A/AC.109/2012/18), which gave an overview of the Department’s activities on decolonization.

During that period, the Department produced 38 press releases in English and French on the subject, the United Nations News Centre produced 10, and United Nations Television and Video and United Nations Radio provided full coverage, he said.  United Nations Webcast provided seven hours of live and archived video of five events, including on the Puerto Rico decision, plenary meetings on the Territories, and a press conference on the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).  It promoted the Pacific regional seminar held in Quito, Ecuador, from 30 May to 20 June, compiling an information kit for distribution among participants and producing a new visual identity for the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism.  It also launched a fully redesigned website in the Organization’s six official languages, which had more than 150,000 page views during the last year.

Michael Streitz, Officer-in-Charge of the Department of Political Affairs’ Decolonization Unit, said the high number of page views was a testament to the site’s popularity.  The Department continued efforts to maintain the site, and to promote it via social media, as part of its overall collaboration with the Public Information Department and other Secretariat departments to promote the Third International Decade.  Furthermore, his Department regularly cooperated with the administering Powers of the 16 Territories to prepare annual working papers on each one.

Among other activities, the Unit was responsible for the substantive organization, input and follow-up to the annual regional seminars, he said, which provided unique forums for the exchange of information on decolonization among representatives of the Territories and the Committee, as well as civil society and other actors.  It was currently working to showcase the Special Committee’s work in the Quito seminar, which had attracted significant media coverage.  The Unit also continued to expand its roster of experts on decolonization.

The Special Committee on Decolonization will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Thursday, 14 June to take up the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).

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*     A dispute exists between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.