Video: British MPs Discuss UN & Decolonization

January 22, 2018 | 9 Comments

The United Nations Committee on Decolonization was discussed during a recent meeting of the British Foreign Affairs Committee, with questions raised as to what is being done to remove the ten British Overseas Territories — including Bermuda — from the list of “Non-Self-Governing Territories.”

While the subject of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee meeting was actually listed as the UK’s response to hurricanes in the Overseas Territories, the UN Committee on Decolonization came up, as did Bermuda’s Domestic Partnership Bill.

The United Nations maintains a list of what they deem to be “Non-Self-Governing Territories”, and Bermuda is included, having been listed since 1946.

Also included in the list are Western Sahara, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Montserrat, St. Helena, Turks & Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands, Gibraltar, American Samoa, French Polynesia, Guam, New Caledonia, Pitcairn, and Tokelau.

Map of territories on UN list of Non-Self-Governing Territories courtesy of Wikiwand:

640px-UN-Non-Self-Governing_Territories.svg

Acccording to United Nations website, “The Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples [also known as the Special Committee on decolonization or C-24], the United Nations entity exclusively devoted to the issue of decolonization, was established in 1961 by the General Assembly with the purpose of monitoring the implementation of the Declaration [General Assembly Resolution 1514 [XV] of 14 December 1960].”

Noting that the UN Committee on Decolonization lists ten of the British Overseas Territories, Commonwealth Minister Lord Ahmad and the Director of Overseas Territories were asked what they are doing to remove them from the list.

Ben Merrick, the Director of Overseas Territories, replied, “It’s not something that we particularly focused on from our point of view.

“We have a positive relationship with our territories, and the decolonization agenda is not something that we are particularly engaging with at present. I think we have, as I say, a constructive relationship through all the territories, and I’m not sure we’re particularly seeking to address that list at the moment.”

He was then asked why they are not seeking to address that the UN is “listing areas that we would recognize as free territories, that have willingly been part of the overseas territory network of the United Kingdom”

Mr Merrick replied, “We certainly regard the territories as largely self governing, as the Minister says, because the territories are part of the UK realm. There are some areas where the UK has responsibility for all, but the territories are largely self governing, and that’s how we approach it.”

Video of the exchange courtesy of UK Parliament TV

Calling it an “extremely weak answer,” Andrew Rosindell — who has previously visited Bermuda — said, “The UK Government has not taken part in the Committee of 24 now, for a considerable period of time.

“The consequences of this, is that the UK Overseas Territories are branded as colonies still, which, should not be, and we should not allow that perception to continue.

“Nor should they be treated as colonies in any sense, they should be self governing countries that make their own decisions, but freely choose to be part of the British realm, and I think we all want to see that.

“So surely the British Government should be engaging in the Committee of 24, and robustly challenging this incorrect status, particularly in terms of the situation with Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands.

“By not participating, surely Her Majesty’s Government is allowing Argentina and Spain, and others, to only have the voice against British Overseas Territories, and self determination, rather than what we know to be the true facts of the situation.”

In reply, Lord Ahmad said, “I think, in terms of the first point you make, I very much subscribe to that.

“If there is some nature in terms of language that we need to look at in terms of our commitment and engagement through various international forums, I believe the UK Government should make our position very clear through those.”

After someone else said, “It’s somewhat deceptive to say that they require to be decolonized,” Lord Ahmad said, “Well, I think that’s a historic term, which certainly, I think is unhelpful.”

Bermuda held a referendum on Independence in 1995, which achieved a voter turnout of 58.8% and saw 73.6% vote against independence and 25.7% vote in favour. A poll conducted two decades later, in 2015, showed similar results, with 72.7% opposing independence for Bermuda.

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Comments (9)

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  1. Real Deal says:

    everyone need to see this as an eyeopener of whats to come.
    Bermuda needs to setup trade and shipping routs with 3rd world countries and make arrangements that are mutual beneficial for both parties.

    I know Plp is working on this but we may need to put 2 stars next to it on the list.
    entrepreneurs need to recognize and jump on the opportunity when Plp is done setting up the political frame work.

  2. Ok says:

    Free Bermuda…Britain’s holding it back!

  3. REPARATIONS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. mixitup says:

    What hypocrites! So in an earlier video these same folks beat their chest asking will the UK Govenor veto the same sex marriage bill in Bermuda, then want to argue to the UN that we are Self Governing territories? Which is it?

  5. facts of the rock says:

    Keep tellin ya’ll Bermuda will never be Independent.
    For a start,the plp are not trusted by the British Authorities

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