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GA/COL/3347
24 June 2021
Resumed Session, 6th & 7th Meetings (AM & PM)

Special Committee on Decolonization Approves 18 Draft Resolutions, as It Concludes 2021 Substantive Session

The Special Committee on Decolonization concluded its 2021 substantive session today, approving 18 draft resolutions, including one requesting that the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom resume negotiations as soon as possible to reach a peaceful resolution of their sovereignty dispute over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas)*.

Introduced by Chile’s representative, the resolution reiterates:  “The way to end the ‘special and particular colonial situation’ of the South Atlantic archipelago is through a peaceful and negotiated settlement between the two Member States.  It also expresses regret that the implementation of the General Assembly resolutions has yet to be implemented.”

Closing out a session that coincided with the start of the fourth International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, the Special Committee also approved draft resolutions on the questions of New Caledonia, American Samoa, Tokelau, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, French Polynesia, Guam, Monserrat, Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, Turks and Caicos, and the United States Virgin Islands.  Those texts would have the Assembly reaffirm once again the right to self‑determination of the peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories and urge their respective administrating Powers to cooperate to that end.

Also approved were the following draft resolutions:  “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations”; “Economic and other activities which affect the interests of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories”; and “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples”.

Felipe Carlos Solá, Argentina’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship, said there is no reason not to resume bilateral negotiations on the Malvinas Islands with the United Kingdom, while emphasizing that the latter seeks to ignore what is established by the General Assembly, on the basis of the supposed right to self-determination of the Malvinas Islands’ inhabitants.  “This reasoning [has] no basis in international law and is no more than an excuse to maintain a colonial situation in the South Atlantic,” he added.

Two petitioners identifying themselves as members of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Legislative Assembly said the overwhelming majority of the Territory’s residents want it to remain a British Overseas Territory, as expressed in the referendum of 2013.  Mark Pollard said Argentina “will stop at nothing” to take the Territory, noting that the trauma of that country’s 1982 invasion still runs deep.  Leona Roberts added that Argentina continues to threaten the economic, political and social well-being of the “kelpers”, as the Territory’s people nickname themselves.  Both petitioners urged the Special Committee to send a visiting mission to the Falklands (Malvinas).

Speaking in support of Argentina’s position, Paula María Vernet, a descendant of the first Argentine governor of the Malvinas, said her ancestors had created a life for themselves on the islands before the arrival of the British forced them to leave.  The Malvinas question is not one of self-determination, but of resolving the sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom, she emphasized.  Fellow petitioner Guillermo Raimundo Clifton, whose family roots are also in the Malvinas, echoed that view, adding that the United Kingdom’s illegitimate occupation restricts joint efforts in such areas as agriculture, fisheries and access to waters, among others.

In the ensuing debate, delegates, many from the Latin American and Caribbean region, supported Argentina’s claim of sovereignty and urged Buenos Aires and London to begin negotiations as soon as possible on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions.  Several cautioned against unilateral actions, expressing concern about the United Kingdom’s military presence in the Falklands (Malvinas), and by extension, the South Atlantic.

Informing today’s discussion was a 17-page working paper on the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) prepared by the Secretariat (document A/AC.109/2021/6).

The 29-member Special Committee — 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 — previously approved a draft resolution on Puerto Rico, on 18 June, and considered the questions of Gibraltar and Western Sahara on 14 June.  (See Press Releases GA/COL/3346 and GA/COL/3344 respectively.)

Also speaking today were representatives of Costa Rica (on behalf of the Central American Integration System), Paraguay (on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR)), Mexico (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)), Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Speakers representing Antigua and Barbuda, Cuba, Syria, China, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Russian Federation, Sierra Leone, Uruguay, Guatemala, Peru, El Salvador, Honduras, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Panama and Papua New Guinea (also on behalf of Fiji) also addressed the Special Committee.

Grenada’s representative, Chair of the Special Committee, delivered closing remarks.

Question of Falkland Islands (Malvinas)

MARK POLLARD, identifying himself as a member of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Legislative Assembly, said he travelled 12,000 miles to New York during a global pandemic because the Territory’s expansionist neighbour wants to take his home, “and I cannot accept that”.  That neighbour wants to deny the Territory’s people their basic right to self-determination, while they are perfectly happy with their current political status, he said, citing the results of the 2013 sovereignty referendum in which 99.8 per cent of the population voted for the wished the Falklands (Malvinas) to remain an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom.  Recounting his family’s history in the Territory, he said it goes back six generations, recalling his personal experience growing up in the aftermath of the 1982 invasion by a country with “a well-founded reputation for making its civilians disappear”.  Thirty-nine years on, the minefields have been cleared, but the danger of unexploded ordnance remains, and the mental scars may never heal, he noted.  Today’s Argentina may say it is a different country, but it remains an expansionist bully which shows no remorse for its past actions and still wants to annex the Falklands (Malvinas) against the wish of its people, he emphasized.  “Argentina wants to take my home, my people’s home and my children’s home, and it will stop at nothing to do so.”   He urged the Special Committee to reject Argentina’s claim and to send a visiting mission to the Territory, pointing out that it has never done so.

LEONA ROBERTS, identifying herself as a member of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Legislative Assembly, said her family’s presence in the Territory goes back nine generations and “we are confident in our British sovereignty”.  The Falklands (Malvinas) may be a small country, but its population of less than 3,500 is diverse, drawn from more than 60 nationalities, including Filipinos and Zimbabweans, she said, noting that her own father arrived there with Chilean labourers.  Argentina’s refusal to acknowledge two centuries of natural migration and organic growth is abhorrent, especially when it is, itself, the product of European migration and the decimation of an indigenous population, she pointed out.  Recalling that she was 10 years old during the 1982 invasion, she said Argentina today threatens the Territory’s economic, political and social well-being, as well as those who wish to do business with it, and even attempts to block its athletes from competing in international events.  It also sought to include the Territory’s COVID-19 statistics into its own national data.  She went on to emphasize that the Falklands (Malvinas) today is self-sufficient and self-governing, and that its political future depends on its people, who will not be bullied.  She urged the Special Committee to see Argentina’s colonial intentions, and its refusal to accept modern reality, for what they are and to dispatch a visiting mission to the Falklands (Malvinas).

PAULA MARÍA VERNET, a descendent of Luis Vernet, the first Argentine governor of the Malvinas Islands, emphasized that nations can find the best solutions when working together, as demonstrated during the coronavirus pandemic.  Recalling that her ancestors settled and created a life there almost 200 years ago, she said they were forced to leave their land and their dream in 1833, when the United Kingdom occupied the islands.  In recent years, that country has refused to negotiate with Argentina.  Citing the 2016 census, she said it shows that only 46 per cent of the Territory’s people were born there and about 57 per cent have been there less than 10 years.  The question is not one of self-determination, but of resolving the sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom, she stressed.

GUILLERMO RAIMUNDO CLIFTON, a veterinary doctor in Argentine Patagonia, provided a snapshot of his family’s history, beginning with his grandfather, who was born in the Malvinas in 1902, to his current correspondence with 50 relatives living there today.  Highlighting some of the agricultural challenges facing the Malvinas, which are similar to those in Patagonia, he said the United Kingdom’s illegitimate occupation has stymied joint local efforts in such areas as livestock productivity.  It has also restricted efforts in other areas, including fishing and access to water, he added, pointing out that the United Kingdom maintains a large naval force.  The question at hand is a sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom, he said.  Recalling that the occupation began in 1833, he noted that today, the Territory’s inhabitants are descendants of participants in the illegal occupation.  The Special Committee has repeatedly suggested that Argentina and United Kingdom settle their differences, he said, expressing hope that its efforts will soon bring an end to colonialism.

MILENKO ESTEBAN SKOKNIC TAPIA (Chile), speaking on behalf of Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela, introduced the draft resolution “Question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas)” (document A/AC.109/2021/L.8), saying it features the same concepts that the United Nations established half a century ago regarding the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas.  Finding a lasting solution to that question has been a matter of fundamental importance for the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean, even during the coronavirus pandemic when in-person meetings were not possible, he added.  Describing colonial situations as an anachronism in the twenty-first century, he said Chile and the other co-sponsors of the draft resolution support Argentina’s legitimate rights on the Falklands (Malvinas) question, which can only be resolved through bilateral negotiations.  Speaking in his national capacity, he emphasized that Chile’s support for Argentina’s sovereign legal right over the Malvinas is long-standing State policy.

FELIPE CARLOS SOLÁ, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina, provided an update of his country’s activities on the Malvinas question, including the creation of a national council to design a strategy to end the sovereignty dispute with the United Kingdom.  Recalling that the dispute goes back to 1833, when the United Kingdom illegally and forcibly occupied the Territory and displaced its inhabitants, he said evidence of Argentina’s sovereignty is abundant and conclusive.  Resolution 2065, adopted by the Assembly in 1965 with no opposing votes, emphasizes that bilateral negotiations should bear in mind the interests of the Territory’s inhabitants, he said, noting that special talks on ways to improve their living conditions are being held in parallel.  Fifty years ago, the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom agreed to facilitate the provision of goods and services from the mainland, but the United Kingdom has since refused to engage in dialogue, he said.

There is no reason for the Government of the United Kingdom to maintain an illegitimate colonial situation or for bilateral negotiations not to resume, although Argentina is determined to continue talks, he continued.   The United Kingdom seeks to ignore what is established by the General Assembly, based on the supposed right to self-determination of the inhabitants of the Malvinas Islands.  “This reasoning [has] no basis in international law and is no more than an excuse to maintain a colonial situation in the South Atlantic.”  Moreover, the United Kingdom purports to apply the right to self-determination, even though it is the colonizer, he noted, adding that Argentina is always ready to negotiate special safeguards to guarantee the interests of the Territory’s inhabitants.  Turning to the pandemic, he said Argentina offered to provide food and medicine to the Territory, but received no response from the United Kingdom, even though strengthening its ties with the mainland would benefit all parties.  He went on to point out that the United Kingdom persists with activities that contravene resolutions 2065 (XX) and 31/49, including the unilateral extension of fishing licences for 25 more years, the illegal exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons, and the unjustified military presence.

RODRIGO ALBERTO CARAZO ZELEDÓN (Costa Rica), speaking on behalf of the Central American Integration System, said existing resolutions aim to free the region from colonialism.  Expressing support for a resumption of negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom, he emphasized that both sides should refrain from adopting unilateral decisions.  Central American States have designated 10 June as a day of solidarity with the Malvinas, he said, renewing the call for a peaceful resolution of the dispute, he added.

Speaking in his national capacity, he said the dispute represents a colonial situation, and expressed support for Argentina’s rights over the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia, South Sandwich Island and surrounding maritime areas.  Costa Rica, he said, regrets to note that almost 56 years have passed since the Assembly adopted its initial resolution on the Falklands (Malvinas) question.  He voiced further regret over the United Kingdom’s recent actions, including military exercises.  Appealing to the Governments of both countries to resume negotiations, he expressed hope that the dispute will soon be resolved.

JULIO CÉSAR ARRIOLA RAMÍREZ (Paraguay), speaking on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), said the question is one of resolving a sovereignty dispute.  Efforts to that end must be in accordance with United Nations resolutions and related regional declarations, he said, emphasizing that unilateral measures, including the exploitation of renewable and non-renewable resources, is not compatible with such decisions.

Speaking in his national capacity, he expressed support for Argentina’s rights over the Malvinas and for the resumption of negotiations to resolve the sovereignty dispute, taking note of Argentina’s efforts in that regard.

JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE RAMIREZ (Mexico), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), reiterated that group’s permanent interest in the resumption of negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom.  Highlighting commitments contained made in CELAC’s Special Declaration, adopted by its Heads of State and Government, he recalled that the signatories pledged to support Argentina’s legitimate rights in the sovereignty dispute over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, as well as the surrounding maritime areas.  Also by the terms of that Declaration, they instructed the CELAC presidency to request that the United Nations Secretary‑General renew efforts for the resumption of negotiations with a view to finding a peaceful solution as soon as possible.

Speaking in his national capacity, he emphasized the importance of a peaceful solution to the dispute, in accordance with United Nations resolutions.  Mexico, for its part, calls upon the Special Committee to strengthen the possibility of dialogue on the question, with a view to finding a swift solution, he added.

JAIME HERMIDA CASTILLO (Nicaragua), associating himself with CELAC and the Central American Integration System, expressed his country’s everlasting solidarity with the people of Argentina, and that country’s position vis-à-vis the Malvinas.

CRISTIAN ESPINOSA CAÑIZARES (Ecuador) emphasized that the principle of self‑determination cannot apply to the Malvinas question, as it is incompatible with Argentina’s territorial integrity.  Ecuador rejects the unilateral adoption of measures as long as the question remains outstanding, he said, urging use of the Secretary-General’s good offices to help resolve the dispute.

DIEGO PARY (Bolivia) said the Falklands (Malvinas) question represents a bilateral matter still awaiting a solution.  Amid the United Kingdom’s continuing occupation, various General Assembly resolutions recognize the matter as a sovereignty dispute, he added.  Indeed, the situation is recognized as one of the forms of colonialism that must be brought to an end, he noted.  Shamefully, the United Kingdom has ignored existing resolutions, he said, calling for resumed negotiations for a peaceful, lasting solution.

ASBINA MARIN SEVILLA (Venezuela), associating herself with CELAC, urged Argentina and the United Kingdom to resume talks on the matter, in line with the relevant United Nations resolutions.  Calling for the Secretary-General’s assistance in reaching a peaceful solution, she said Venezuela rejects the exploitation activities carried out by the United Kingdom.

GARETH BYNOE (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) said that while the lack of progress in this long‑standing sovereignty dispute might be frustrating, this fact must not give way to the urge to impose unilateral quick fixes.  In recent years, both Argentina and the United Kingdom have taken bold and commendable steps to engage meaningfully on this issue, including through a humanitarian initiative to identify fallen Argentine soldiers in Darwin and the resumption of scientific cooperation on fisheries.  “We urge them to continue along this just path,” he said, adding that Saint Vincent and the Grenadines remains committed to the prompt, just and peaceful resolution of this dispute.

The Special Committee then approved “L.8”, reiterating that the way to end the special and particular colonial situation concerning the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) is through a peaceful and negotiated settlement of the sovereignty dispute between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom.

Also by the text, the Special Committee expressed regret that, despite widespread international support for a negotiation between the two sides, implementation of General Assembly resolutions on this question has not yet started, and requested the two sides to consolidate the current process of dialogue and cooperation through the resumption of negotiations.

Mr. SOLÁ thanked the Special Committee for approving a fresh resolution that calls once again on Argentina and the United Kingdom to resume negotiations to resolve their sovereignty dispute.

WALTON ALFONSO WEBSON (Antigua and Barbuda), associating himself with CELAC, strongly urged Argentina and the United Kingdom, both friends of his country, to intensity sovereignty negotiations.  They should move “with haste and humility” towards a peaceful and definitive solution, in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions.  This is a dispute that affects the lives of real people, he emphasized.

ANA SILVIA RODRÍGUEZ ABASCAL (Cuba), associating herself with CELAC, recalled that the Special Committee has approved 35 resolutions on the Malvinas question over the years.  Expressing support for Argentina, she said the issue represents a sovereignty dispute.  Support from regional groups demonstrate the common desire for a peaceful settlement to the dispute, she said.  However, conducting military exercises in the area contravenes United Nations resolutions, she noted, reiterating calls for Argentina and the United Kingdom to resolve the dispute as soon as possible.  Cuba, for its part, will continue its efforts to ensure the region will be free of colonialism, she emphasized.

BASSAM SABBAGH (Syria) said the question is important to his delegation, because part of Syrian land is under occupation by Israel.  Noting that General Assembly resolutions reaffirm that the Malvinas is a special colonial situation, he emphasized that a peaceful settlement is the only way to end the dispute.  In approving the related draft resolution, the Special Committee will demonstrate its support for Argentina, he said, pointing out that the United Kingdom’s occupation has violated Argentina’s territorial integrity since 1833.  For years, the Special Committee has approved a range of resolutions, which have yet to be implemented, he noted.  With 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories remaining, no stone must be left unturned in fully implementing international law to end colonialism, he stressed.

SHUANG GENG (China) said the Malvinas dispute is “essentially a historical legacy of colonialism”, emphasizing that the days when Western colonialists had free rein are long gone.  However, colonial thinking, power politics and bullying still manifest themselves in international relations, he noted, expressing hope that the United Kingdom will respond to Argentina’s request and start negotiations as soon as possible, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions.

JOAQUIM JOSE COSTA CHAVES (Timor-Leste) said that the listed Non-Self-Governing Territories should be considered on a case-by-case basis since each has its own particular circumstances.  On the Falkland (Malvinas) question, he urged Argentina and the United Kingdom to continue dialogue with a view to finding a peaceful and permanent solution, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions.  He also urged Spain and the United Kingdom to continue a constructive dialogue on the question of Gibraltar.

MOHAMMAD KURNIADI KOBA (Indonesia) said the only way to resolve the Falkland (Malvinas) question is through a peaceful negotiated settlement involving Argentina and the United Kingdom.  Indonesia fully supports use of the Secretary‑General’s good offices to help ensure a peaceful, just solution to the ongoing dispute, he added.

DMITRY S. CHUMAKOV (Russian Federation) said the dispute should be settled by Argentina and the United Kingdom, in line with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.  He went on to express concern over the increasing militarization of the area, highlighting the provisions of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco) and declarations related to ensuring the region remains free of nuclear weapons.

ALIE KABBA (Sierra Leone) called on all stakeholders to engage constructively and create an environment that enables the inhabitants of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) to freely determine their political status.  The resumption of earnest negotiations between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom is the right approach, with both parties engaging with the Special Committee as appropriate, he added.

CARLOS AMORÍN (Uruguay), associating himself with CELAC, reaffirmed his country’s commitment to Argentina’s sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas.  Describing the dispute as a special and particular case of colonialism which can only be resolved through bilateral negotiations, he said Uruguay is confident that there can be rapprochement between Argentina and the United Kingdom on that question.

LUIS ANTONIO LAM PADILLA (Guatemala), associating himself with CELAC, acknowledged the Special Committee’s efforts to hold its substantive session in person despite the pandemic.  He went on to reiterate Guatemala’s steadfast support for the Argentina’s legitimate rights and applauded that country’s continued political will to resolve the sovereignty dispute over the Malvinas through dialogue and negotiation.

NÉSTOR POPOLIZIO (Peru) expressed his full support for Argentina in relation to the Malvinas question, emphasizing that the notion of self‑determination does not apply.  To settle the dispute, Argentina and the United Kingdom should resume negotiations towards a solution, including through the Secretary-General’s efforts, he said.  Meanwhile, the parties must refrain from unilateral actions, he added.

EGRISELDA ARACELY GONZÁLEZ LÓPEZ (El Salvador), associating herself with CELAC and the Central American Integration System, said the Assembly has been debating the Malvinas question for decades.  El Salvador reaffirms its support for the resumption of negotiations to find a peaceful solution to the dispute, in accordance with the 2020 declaration of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, he added.  The Malvinas question is a regional concern, she noted, saying that, if Argentina and the United Kingdom express a genuine willingness, the matter could be resolved expeditiously.

YOLANNIE CERRATO (Honduras), associating herself with CELAC and the Central American Integration System, called for an end to colonialism in all its manifestations.  She recalled that CELAC’S recent Special Declaration on the Malvinas calls for negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom to resume as soon as possible and encouraged the Secretary-General to exercise his good offices and call upon both sides to resume dialogue.

GUILLERMO ROQUE FERNANDEZ DE SOTO VALDERRAMA (Colombia) associated himself with MERCOSUR and CELAC, reaffirming the importance of ensuring a peaceful and negotiated settlement to the special and particular situation of the Malvinas.  Encouraging Argentina and the United Kingdom to resume talks to that end as soon as possible, he added that his country supports the good offices mission entrusted to the Secretary-General by the General Assembly on the Malvinas question.

JOSÉ BLANCO (Dominican Republic) reiterated his delegation’s support for Argentina, as outlined in regional declarations.  Argentina’s just demands must be addressed through a negotiated agreement with the United Kingdom, he emphasized, calling upon the Secretary-General to use all available resources to reach a lasting settlement.  Drawing attention to the special paper issued at the 2021 American Summit, he highlighted several action areas, including the need for negotiations to resume as soon as possible, within the framework of the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

RONALDO COSTA FILHO (Brazil), associating himself with MERCOSUR, said the Malvinas question involves a sovereignty dispute, not an issue of self‑determination.  Brazil supports the territorial integrity of Argentina, he added.  Acknowledging efforts by Argentina and the United Kingdom to resolve the issue, he recognized the positive initiatives taken with a view to resuming negotiations, while noting violations of bilateral understandings related to General Assembly resolutions.  Calling upon the United Kingdom to refrain from exploiting natural resources and carrying out military exercises, he reminded the Special Committee that the South Atlantic is an area of peace, free of nuclear bombs and weapons of mass destruction.

ZORAYA DEL CARMEN CANO FRANCO (Panama), associating herself with the Central American Integration System and CELAC, underlined her delegation’s support for Argentina’s position.  Through sustained awareness and dialogue, it is possible to overcome differences that may seem insurmountable, she said, citing her country’s experience of regaining sovereignty over the Panama Canal.

Question of New Caledonia

The representative of Papua New Guinea, speaking also on behalf of Fiji, introduced the draft resolution “Question of New Caledonia” (document A/AC.109/2021/L.22), noting that the administering Power has announced a self-determination referendum on — the third in four years — to be held on 12 December.  The Special Committee must keep an eye on the preparation and conduct of the referendum, as well as the post-referendum situation, while also working with the people of New Caledonia and the administering Power, he said, going on to propose several editorial amendments.

By that text, the General Assembly would reaffirm that it is ultimately for the people of New Caledonia to determine freely and fairly their future political status, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly.  It would also call upon the administering Power and all relevant stakeholders to ensure the peaceful, fair, just and transparent conduct of the self-determination referendum, in accordance with the Nouméa Accord.

The Special Committee then approved “L.22” without a vote, as orally amended.

Question of American Samoa

The Special Committee then took up the draft resolution “Question of American Samoa” (document A/AC/AC.109/2021/L.10), by which the General Assembly would reaffirm that, in the process of decolonizing American Samoa, there is no alternative to the principle of self-determination and that it is ultimately for its people to determine freely their future political status.

It then approved “L.10” without a vote.

Question of Tokelau

The representative of Papua New Guinea, speaking also on behalf of Fiji, then introduced the draft resolution “Question of New Caledonia” (document A/AC.109/2021/L.23), describing it as a collective effort involving the participation of Tokelau’s representatives, as well as the administering Power.  He proposed several oral amendments.

The Committee then approved “L.23” without a vote.

The Special Committee then approved a range of draft resolutions without a vote.  Taking up the working paper “Question of Anguilla” (document A/AC.109/2021/2), it approved an eponymous draft resolution (document A/AC.109/2021/L.11), by which the General Assembly would, among other things, reaffirm the inalienable right of the people of Anguilla to self-determination, in conformity with the United Nations Charter and General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV), containing the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.

Taking up the working paper “Question of Bermuda” (document A/AC.109/2021/3), the Special Committee approved the related draft resolution (document A/AC.109/2021/L.12), by which the General Assembly would reaffirm that, in the process of decolonization, there is no alternative to the principle of self‑determination, which is also a fundamental human right.  It would further reaffirm that it is ultimately for the people of Bermuda to determine freely their future political status, and in that connection, it would call upon the administering Power, in cooperation with the territorial government and appropriate bodies of the United Nations system, to develop political education programmes for the Territory in order to foster an awareness among its people of their right to self-determination.

Turning to the working paper “Question of the British Virgin Islands” (document A/AC.109/2021/4), the Special Committee approved an eponymous draft resolution (document A/AC.109/2021/L.14).  By its terms, the General Assembly would request that the administering Power facilitate the Territory’s work concerning public education outreach efforts, consistent with Article 73(b) of the Charter, and in that regard call upon the relevant United Nations agencies to provide assistance to the Territory, if requested.  It would also call upon the administering Power to facilitate a visiting mission to the British Virgin Islands, and request that the Chair of the Special Committee take all the steps necessary to that end.

The Special Committee then took up the working paper “Question of Cayman Islands” (document A/AC.109/2021/5), approved the related draft resolution (document A/AC.109/2021/L.15).  By its terms, the General Assembly would recall the 2009 Constitution of the Cayman Islands, and stresses the importance of the work of the Constitutional Commission, including its work on human rights education.  It would also request that the administering Power facilitate the Territory’s work concerning public education outreach efforts, consistent with Article 73(b) of the Charter, and in that regard call upon the relevant United Nations agencies to provide assistance to the Territory, if requested.

Taking up the working paper “Question of French Polynesia” (document A/AC.109/2021/7), the Special Committee approved the related draft resolution (document A/AC.109/2021/L.24), by which the General Assembly would express regret that the administering Power has not responded to the request to submit information on French Polynesia under Article 73(e) of the Charter since the Territory’s re-inscription by the Assembly in 2013.  The Assembly would also reaffirm the existence of an obligation on the administering Power’s part to transmit information under Chapter XI of the Charter, and request that it transmit such information to the Secretary-General.  It would urge the administering Power to ensure the permanent sovereignty of the people of French Polynesia over their natural resources, including marine resources and undersea minerals, in accordance with the relevant Assembly resolutions.

The Special Committee then turned to the working paper “Question of Guam” (document A/AC.109/2021/9), approving the eponymous draft resolution (document A/AC.109/2021/L.16), orally revised.  By that text, the General Assembly would welcome the ongoing work of the Guam Commission on Decolonization for the Implementation and Exercise of CHamoru Self-Determination on a self-determination vote, as well as its public education efforts.  It would stress that the decolonization process in Guam should be compatible with the Charter, the decolonization Declaration and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The Assembly would also, among other things, call once again upon the administering Power to take into consideration the expressed will of the CHamoru people, as supported by Guam voters in the referendum of 1987 and as subsequently provided for in Guam law regarding CHamoru self-determination efforts.

Taking up the working paper “Question of Monserrat” (document A/AC.109/2021/10), the Special Committee then approved the related draft resolution (document A/AC.109/2021/L.17), which would have the General Assembly reaffirm the administering Power’s responsibility under the Charter to promote the Territory’s economic and social development and preserve its cultural identity.  It would request that the administering Power take steps to enlist and make effective use of all possible assistance, on both a bilateral and a multilateral basis, in strengthening Monserrat’s economy.

The Special Committee then took up the working paper “Question of Pitcairn” (document A/AC.109/2021/12), approving the eponymous draft resolution (document A/AC.109/2021/L.18).  By that draft, the General Assembly would welcome all efforts by the administering Power to further devolve operational responsibilities to the territorial government, with a view to gradually expanding self-government, including through the training of local personnel.  The Assembly would also request that the administering Power continue its assistance for the improvement of the economic, social, educational and other conditions of Pitcairn’s population and continue its discussions with the territorial government on how best to support socioeconomic and environmental security, including as concerns demographic matters.

Turning to the working paper “Question of Saint Helena” (document A/AC.109/2021/13), the Special Committee then approved the related draft resolution (document A/AC.109/2021/L.19).  By that text, the General Assembly would stress the importance of the Territory’s 2009 Constitution and the further development of democratic and good governance, including the ongoing governance reform process.  It would also request that the administering Power facilitate the Territory’s work concerning public education outreach efforts.

Taking up the working paper “Question of Turks and Caicos Islands” (document A/AC.109/2021/15), the Special Committee approved the eponymous draft resolution (document A/AC.109/2021/L.20).  By its terms, the General Assembly would stress the importance of having a Constitution that reflects the aspirations and wishes of the Territory’s people, based on the mechanisms for popular consultation.  It would also take note of the positions and repeated calls of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Non-Aligned Movement in support of a democratically elected territorial government and of the full restoration of democracy in Saint Helena, as decided by its people.

The Special Committee then took up the working paper “Question of the United States Virgin Islands” (document A/AC.109/2021/16), approving the related draft resolution (document A/AC.109/2021/L.21).  By that text, the General Assembly would welcome the proposal of a draft Constitution emanating from the Territory in 2009, as a result of the work of the United States Virgin Islands fifth Constitutional Convention, for review by the administering Power.  It would also request that the latter help the territorial government achieve its political, economic and social goals, in particular the successful conclusion of the internal constitutional convention exercise.

The Special Committee then approved the draft resolution “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations” (document A/AC.109/2021/L.9).  By its terms, the General Assembly would recommend that States intensify their efforts through the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system to ensure the Declaration’s full and effective implementation.  It would also request that those United Nations entities intensify their engagement with the Special Committee.

Taking up the draft resolution “Economic and other activities which affect the interests of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories” (document A/AC.109/2021/L.6), the Special Committee approved the related draft resolution, by which the General Assembly would reaffirm the responsibility of administering Powers to promote the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, as well as the legitimate rights of their peoples over their natural resources.

Finally, the Special Committee approved the draft resolution “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples” (document A/AC.109/2021/L.25).  By its terms, the General Assembly, recalling that the period 2021‑2030 is the fourth International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, would call upon administering Powers to take all steps necessary to enable the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories to exercise fully, as soon as possible, their right to self-determination, including independence.  It would reaffirm once again that the existence of colonialism in any form or manifestation, including economic exploitation, is incompatible with the United Nations Charter, the decolonization Declaration and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The Assembly would further reaffirm its determination to continue to take all steps necessary to bring about the complete and speedy eradication of colonialism.

Closing Remarks

KEISHA ANIYA MCGUIRE (Grenada), Chair of the Special Committee, delivered closing remarks, thanking all participants for their patience and active participation despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 and related mitigation measures, as well as those who travelled to New York despite travel restrictions.  In all, the Special Committee approved 22 draft resolutions and decisions, all by consensus, she said, adding that its annual report will be sent on for the consideration of the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) in October, during the General Assembly’s seventy-sixth session.

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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.