The process of decolonization, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s, reshaped the world. More than 80 former colonies have attained independence since the creation of the United Nations. But the process of decolonization is not complete. Presently, 17 territories home to nearly 2 million people in Africa, Europe, the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Pacific remain on the UN list of Non-Self-Governing Territories (NSGTs). Finishing the job will require the Special Committee on Decolonization, a panel of 29 UN member states established in 1961, to continue its dialogue with and among the administering Powers and the peoples of the territories.
At its latest session, concluded on 22 June, the Special Committee, also known as the C-24, recommended, among other things, that UN General Assembly reaffirm its resolution 1514 (XV) of 1960 as well as all other resolutions on decolonization, and reiterate that “the existence of colonialism in any form or manifestation — including economic exploitation — was incompatible with the Declaration [on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples], the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” The Assembly would also “reaffirm its determination to take all necessary steps to bring about the complete and speedy eradication of colonialism, and support the aspirations of peoples living under colonial rule around the world.”
Through that text, the Assembly would also call on the administering Powers of the 17 NSGTs “to develop and finalize work programmes — on a case‑by‑case basis — to facilitate implementation of all relevant decolonization resolutions.”
To do its work, the C-24 hears submissions from representatives of the NSGTs. But it also travels to NSGTs to see situations up close. One recent such mission was to New Caledonia in March 2018.
The objective of the mission, which came at the invitation of New Caledonia’s administering Power, France, was to “gather first-hand information on the situation in the Territory with regard to the various aspects of the implementation of the Nouméa Accord of 1998 and supporting the Territory in its preparations for the referendum on self-determination, to be held later in 2018,” and to “build on the conclusions and recommendations of the previous mission carried out in 2014 and assess the current situation on the ground, in line with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and of the Special Committee.” Four members of the Committee -- from Cuba, Indonesia, Iraq and Papua New Guinea -- made up the Visiting Mission, which was supported by DPA’s Decolonization Unit.
Ambassador Humberto Rivero Rosario (Cuba), who chaired of the mission, presented the mission’s report to the C-24 on 22 June 2018.
The mission met high-level representatives of the territorial Government, members of the provincial assemblies, municipal authorities from the three major islands of Koné, Lifou and Nouméa, as well as members of political groups. The mission also interacted with magistrates from different judicial bodies, UN electoral experts, as well as representatives of the Human Rights League, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, the University of New Caledonia, the Tjibaou Cultural Centre and beneficiaries of the Cadres for the Future programme.
After New Caledonia, a smaller delegation of the visiting mission proceeded to Paris on 19 March 2018 for consultations with the Government of France.
In the meantime, the question of the referendum to take place in New Caledonia has been determined as, “Do you want New Caledonia to accede to full sovereignty and become independent?”, and will be asked to the voters on 4 November 2018.
More information about the United Nations and Decolonization: http://www.un.org/en/decolonization
Title Picture: Lagoon on the way from Nouméa to Koné, Visiting Mission to New Caledonia, March 2018. UN Photo