Concluding its 2019 substantive session, the Special Committee on Decolonization today approved draft resolutions on five Non-Self-Governing Territories, including one that would have the General Assembly encourage the administering Power of French Polynesia to recognize and compensate persons impacted by three decades of nuclear testing in the South Pacific Territory.
Wrapping up its work, the 29‑member entity — formally known as the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples — approved texts on the questions of the British Virgin Islands (document A/AC.109/2019/L.14), Guam (document A/AC.109/2019/L.16), Turks and Caicos Islands (document A/AC.109/2019/L.20) and New Caledonia (document A/AC.109/2019/L.22), as well as French Polynesia (document A/AC.109/2019/L.24).
Those texts would have the Assembly reaffirm the right of the peoples of the Territories to self-determination in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.
An operative paragraph that would have the Assembly take note of efforts by the administering Power to recognize and compensate persons for the impacts of nuclear testing, and encouraging it to take steps in that regard, was added to “L.24” after the representative of Côte d’Ivoire expressed reservations about a separate operative paragraph that would have the Assembly ask the Secretary-General for updates on the environmental and other impacts of those tests. That paragraph remained in the revised text.
In closing remarks, Keisha Aniya McGuire (Grenada), Chair of the Special Committee, said that over two weeks, delegates heard representatives and/or petitioners from 12 Non-Self-Governing Territories and approved 22 resolutions and decisions by consensus. All documents and decisions will be part of the Special Committee’s annual report, with its recommendations to be taken up by the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) in October, she said.
Noting that one year remains until the end of the third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (2011-2020), she said more strenuous efforts are required to make progress towards full implementation of all relevant United Nations resolutions, including the Declaration. “The Special Committee will and should continue to play its role in advancing decolonization as mandated by the General Assembly,” she said.
Also speaking today were representatives of Papua New Guinea, Tunisia and Syria.