Progress On Decolonization “Agonizingly Slow”

October 28, 2015

Progress towards “decolonizing” what the United Nations has listed as the world’s 17 remaining “Non-Self-Governing Territories” — which includes Bermuda — has been “agonizingly slow”, some speakers said at the recently held UN Special Political and Decolonization meeting.

Bermuda is included on the UN’s list of “Non-Self-Governing Territories”, having been listed since 1946.

Joining us on the list is Western Sahara, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands [Malvinas], Montserrat, St. Helena, Turks & Caicos Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Gibraltar, American Samoa, French Polynesia, Guam, New Caledonia, Pitcairn, and Tokelau .

“The persistence of colonialism and foreign occupations is a travesty of the universal principle of political and economic freedom for all peoples,” Pakistan’s representative said at the meeting.

The United Nations had a “moral responsibility” to the Non‑Self‑Governing Territories and their peoples, she said, adding that the “people of those Territories looked to the United Nations with hope every year.”

Voicing full support for all peoples living under “colonization,” Saudi Arabia’s representative said that “occupation in all its forms was a violation of democracy and of the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Human Rights.”

She went on to underline the right of the Palestinian people, in particular, to self-determination. “A timetable must be set up to end the Israeli occupation,” she said.

A number of delegates spoke on the “overall ineffectiveness of the United Nations decolonization machinery in ending the suffering of peoples in the Non‑Self‑Governing Territories.”

“This Committee has become an accomplice in the untold sorrow of humanity in those Territories,” said Uganda’s representative.

He joined a number of other speakers in expressing support for the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination. Uganda was “profoundly proud” of the struggle of the Saharan people, he said, calling for an end to the “humiliating bondage” forced upon them.

Western Sahara remained the only colony on the African continent, and African Union Heads of State and Government supported independence for the Territory.

“As Africans, we are ashamed that while the entire continent has fought to free itself from colonialism, Western Sahara is still being held hostage by another African country,” said Botswana’s representative.

In addition, many delegates expressed support for Argentina’s claim of sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas.

The representative of El Salvador also expressed support for Argentina’s position on activities relating to the exploration and exploitation of resources in and around the islands, warning against the introduction of “unilateral modifications” to the situation of the islands while the dispute remained unresolved.

Similarly, Nicaragua’s representative rejected the “occupation and militarization of part of Argentina’s territory” saying the United Kingdom “continued to ignore and challenge the universal call made by the international community upon both parties to renew negotiations over the sovereignty dispute.”

“It is time to see these colonial enclaves returned to Argentina,” she emphasized.

However, the United Kingdom’s representative, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, responded that “his country had no doubt as to its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands [Malvinas] or about the right to self-determination of the Territory’s people. There could be no dialogue on sovereignty unless the islanders so wished,” he emphasized.

Manal Radwan of Saudi Arabia voiced full support for “all peoples living under colonization,” saying that “occupation in all its forms was a violation of democracy and of the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Human Rights.”

“The United Nations must rise to its responsibilities to put an end to all forms of colonization,” she said.

UN 2a

Calling on the administering Powers to engage in dialogue and to work towards total decolonization, she went on to underline the right of the Palestinian people, in particular, to self-determination.

Sonia Sughayar of Jordan said that “greater efforts towards decolonization were needed, as were the necessary political will and tangible, concrete measures on the part of the administering Powers.”

“Colonialism was hampering economic cooperation and regional development, “she said, calling on Member States to ensure full implementation of the Third Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism.

She suggested dispatching visiting missions to the Non‑Self‑Governing Territories so that they could collect important data and promote mediation efforts.

Mwaba Kasese-Bota of Zambia said that, as a proponent of decolonization and self-determination, her country had called for the restoration of the rights of the people of Western Sahara — Africa’s remaining Non-Self-Governing Territory — on the “basis of the conviction that the self-determination of States was the grounds upon which democracy was founded.”

Maleeha Lodhi of Pakistan, associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said “the persistence of colonialism and foreign occupations is a travesty of the universal principle of political and economic freedom for all peoples”.

“They look towards the United Nations every year, but sadly, progress has been agonizingly slow,” she said

Pham Quang Hieu of Vietnam, associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that “only when people are free to determine their own destiny [will there] be less conflict and more economic development”.

Reiterating his country’s full support for the decolonization process, Hieu said “the task was yet to be completed since 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories across the globe, home to nearly two million people, must be decolonized.”

The representative of Argentina, speaking in exercise of the right of reply in response to the delegate from the United Kingdom, said that the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas were “part and parcel” of Argentina illegally occupied by the United Kingdom.

According to the available transcripts of the United Nations Committee Meeting On Decolonization, it does not appear there were many specific references to Bermuda, with most the conversation centered around other territories such as the Falklands and Western Sahara.

The Fourth Committee [Special Political and Decolonization] concluded its consideration of decolonization questions, forwarding 11 draft resolutions to the General Assembly, five of which it approved by recorded votes.

The Committee approved without a vote its omnibus draft resolution on Questions of American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guam, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands and the United States Virgin Islands.

That text would have the General Assembly reaffirm that it was ultimately for the peoples of the Territories themselves to determine freely their future political status.

The Committee also approved — by a recorded vote of 158 in favour to 2 against [Israel, United States], with 3 abstentions [France, Palau, United Kingdom] — a draft resolution on economic and other activities affecting the interests of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories.

By that text, the General Assembly would urge the administering Powers concerned to take effective measures to safeguard and guarantee the inalienable right of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories to their natural resources, and to establish and maintain control over the future development of those resources.

The UN Special Committee’s working paper on Bermuda from 2014 is below [PDF here]:

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Comments (31)

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  1. Jimmy says:

    Same meaningless speeches every year. At the UN, decolonisation is not an objective of freedom. It’s a career.

    • From New Imperialism (The Scramble for Africa 1881-1914), to League of Nations to U.N., its all the same SNAKE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Toodle-oo says:

    Are these poorly informed Nosy Parkers still around with their axe to grind ?

    We were not colonized , we were settled . Despite being a BOT we ARE basically self governing .

    And if they did a little research they’d find that there is no overwhelming urge amongst the majority of residents to pursue independence .

    • Ahhh correction, African Bermudians were colonized after the settlers stumbled on Bermuda after being caught in a storm, just like Columbus stumbled on the Americas. Now UN need to grow some b@lls and discuss REPARATIONS even though they were the cause of all this S!@#!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Will says:

        African bermudians? The number of slaves brought directly here from Africa is rather minute. Majority were brought up from the West Indies. There was even a long period in Bermuda where the importation of slaves was banned. Just Bermudian works fine nowadays.

        • As Peter Tosh said, No matter where you come from, as long as you’re a Black Man you’re a African.
          And where did they come from before they were shipped to the West Indies?
          Amazing how Europeans and Asians migrate all around the world and keep their identities, but when it comes to Black people…. got to love it.
          I guess you didn’t get the memo that the only true Bermudians are skinks and cahows.

          • Smith says:

            Just because some dead has been drugged up musician said it, doesn’t make it so. I don’t know where my family was 400 years ago nor do I need to keep moaning about it. I am simply Bermudian.

      • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

        I have no problem with people having pride in their ethnicity, but I do always find myself wondering why are people not first and foremost aligned with the country of their birth?

        I am not European-Bermudian, or more accurately, African-European-Bermudian.

        I am simply Bermudian.

    • Toleratate says:

      @Toodle-oo, I find that each country/jurisdiction should be treated as a separate case. Yes, there are locations like Bermuda who have rejected Independence heavily. Last referendum held in 1995, put forward by the UBP, resulted in close to 74% against.
      However in the UN’s defense; later in 2012, the new Government of the day under the PLP accepted an invitation by the UN to speak on the same topic. Bermuda delivered a message in complete OPPOSITE than the previous overwhelming opinion.
      So it’s hard to fault the UN.
      As a person who has NO political ties; I admit that I remain AGAINST Independence simply because there has been NO case bought forward to change my mind on it’s benefits to my country.I often quote a guy who was was going on at my club on how Bermuda should become Independent. After letting him finish his rant of which he made no factual/educated points I asked the simple question of “Why you think Bermuda should be Independent?” His answer in an irritated voice was that “We would be Independent”.
      And that was the moment that I KNEW there was many in our society that lacked the education to make such a decision that could affect ALL our lives.

  3. Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

    If we’re non-self-governing, why do we have elections? And shouldn’t the UK be sending their own people to run things… on their own dime?

    If this is the case, they’re due one heck of a bill for no taking care of business.

    ((if there is any doubt, this is snark))

  4. Family Man says:

    That’s rich; Saudi Arabia talking about democracy and human rights.

  5. Britbob says:

    UNGA 2625 XXV of 24 Oct 1970 states, ”the free association or integration into any other political status freely determined by the people constitutes modes of implementing self-determination by that people.” The General Assembly realises that there are many small territories that are unable to claim full independence.

    To have a look at Argentina’s Falklands’ claim, Google: ‘Argentina’s Illegitimate Sovereignty Claims’

  6. As mentioned: “Progress towards “decolonizing” what the United Nations has listed as the world’s 17 remaining “Non-Self-Governing Territories” — which includes Bermuda has been “agonizingly slow”, some speakers said at the recently held U.N. Special Political and Decolonization meeting.”
    “If we’re non-self-governing, why do we have elections? And shouldn’t the U.K be sending their own people to run things on their own dime?”

  7. Huh says:

    What a joke! Just go take a look at the current and past poor human rights records of Saudi Arabia, Uganda, Botswana, El Salvador, Jordan, Zambia, Pakistan etc…..

    • Not worst then the New Imperialism Era.

    • Pakistan where rape victims are killed by their own family members in so called “honor killings.” Also the country where the young lady Malala was shot in the head by Taliban thugs for attending school. But hey they are concerned about our status as a colony. A whole lot of far more important issues for these parasites to address around the world.

  8. Ringmaster says:

    A bloated and unnecessary group of bureaucratic people who are unelected, unaccountable and unemployable in the real world yet want to assert their opinions and perceived solutions on others. Ignore them.

  9. Faulk says:

    “This Committee has become an accomplice in the untold sorrow of humanity in those Territories,” said Uganda’s moron.

  10. U.N. are you decolinised?…cause …you determining futures of at least one country…that needs U.K. simply to maintain value of currency!….Think …before you speak U.N.

  11. jt says:

    If a colony or territory has the right to democratically decide for themselves then that is sufficient.

  12. Onion says:

    For all their pompous highbrow speeches they didn’t bother to ask us.

  13. Varied says:

    I have nothing wrong with the desire for independence if people desire it, but this decolonization committee seems committed to the notion that people in dependent territories are oppressed and clamouring for ‘freedom’.

    It would take a lot to sway public opinion on if Bermuda should seek full independence, frankly. A lot more than a PDF document or two.

  14. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    I’m pleasantly surprised and proud of the comments thus far…really was expecting jubilant cries of support…The U.N. is the wolf in sheep’s clothing…not to be taken lightly and not to be trusted. Keep your eyes on the horizon…big tings a gwan for sure!

  15. longbay trading says:

    I don’t remember asking them ??!!
    We are not oppressed and do not need your unwanted interference thanks very much. look to yourselves and your own appalling track record on oppression and dictatorships and disgusting record on human rights – especially for women. Go away and sort your own mess before daring to interfere with us.

  16. Villians shepherding fools says:

    People say, “there is no one world order or new world order.”

    United Nations was founded after the Zionist victory of the World Wars, which were utterly staged by the allied nations in order to create the state of Israel and to create a Governmental body that runs the whole planet by force and law, alongwith a World Court and world police force and army. When George Bush Sr. publically stated on record that “the New World Order” is coming to fruition, he was being honest.

    The United Nations was fronted as a means to unify and pacify earth. But the United Nations itself was born out of the evil genocidal nuclear bombing of Japan civilian populations, leaving babies and children scalded alive by radiation as their skin and flesh was cooked. People are still alive who remember this horror. Let us also not forget that Churchill purposely target civilian populations with bombing raids such as hospitals, schools, and buildings where women and children were cowering in hiding from the bitter evil of the allied nations.
    The allied nations purposely induced famine and starvation, illness, rape, and much more during the wars, and the world needs to wake up and realize the atrocities. Twenty million germans women and girls were raped, as commanded by the generals of the allied troops. Lies were made to cover the truth, and fingers pointed at all the wrong people. Those who tried to save the world were labeled as evil and the enemy. When in reality, the enemy was our own friend the whole time. And this two-faced friend lied about almost every single aspect about the two wars, all in order to fulfill and better their hidden agenda…which was a world domination via world government.
    Do you think the rest of the world does know this? To the rest of the world, it is clear as day to see, but to us beguiled sheep of the western nations, we would rather slave away at work to produce taxes than to worry about reality and what actually happened in world wars to shape the world.

    Just a voice in the wind……..

    • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

      Yo bro…those that dislike what you just wrote are either mad because they are now exposed or they really don’t have a clue about their very existence…The sad part is that not getting one like speaks volumes…The masses are flat lining and like it.

  17. I love Bermuda in spite of rational due…i also love united nstions…but truly we are self govorning…we have one of the best araingements…but zQueens pip needs to be back on police buttons!

  18. Can any one tell me why i say this………?