Decolonization Is ‘Moving, Albeit At Slow Pace’

March 1, 2020

Progress on decolonization is “moving but albeit at a slow pace,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said, adding that “decolonization is a process that has to be guided by the aspirations and needs of the communities living in the Territories.”

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; with all the other British Overseas Territories are listed as well.

Along with Bermuda, the jurisdictions listed 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.

Speaking at the 2020 Session of the Special Committee on Decolonization, the Secretary-General said, “It is for me an honour to open the 2020 session of the Special Committee in my capacity as President pro tempore.

“When I addressed you last year, I spoke about my deep connection with the issue of decolonization, which is one of the defining mandates of our Organization.

“Indeed, I can never forget the fact that it was thanks to the liberation movements of Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bissau and their struggle for independence that the Portuguese army has conducted the April revolution that led to the democracy in my own country.

“There was always a very strong link between the Portuguese democrats and the liberation movements of the former colonies.

“So, I cannot stress enough my personal and sincere commitment to your work, which I continue to follow closely.

“As we prepare to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations in October, we have an opportunity to look back at the achievements of this Organization.

“Decolonization is certainly one of the most significant chapters in the UN’s history and this Committee has played a key role.

“In 1946, 72 Territories were placed on the original list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. Today, this number stands at 17. We can all be proud of this achievement.

“We must not forget that the peoples in those 17 Territories are still waiting for the promise of self-government to be fulfilled, in accordance with Chapter XI of the United Nations Charter, the 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and relevant UN resolutions.

“This year also marks the last year of the Third International Decade to Eradicate Colonialism. This milestone is an important opportunity to take stock of our progress.

“Given that the last Non-Self-Governing Territory to conclude its decolonization process was Timor-Leste in 2002, it is reasonable to ask: Has the decolonization agenda reached an impasse?

“The answer is “No”. Things are moving, albeit at a slow pace. In September, New Caledonia will hold its second referendum on independence, following a first referendum in 2018.

“Moreover, this Committee continues to nurture and build new relationships with Territories and administering Powers.Last year, an unprecedented number of participants from Territories, administering Powers, C-24 members and other stakeholders attended your regional seminar.

“And this past December, a delegation of this Committee visited Montserrat to gather first-hand information on the political and socio-economic situation in the Territory.

“Decolonization is a process that has to be guided by the aspirations and needs of the communities living in the Territories.

“The concerns of the peoples of the Territories are varied, and it is our collective responsibility to amplify their voices. Many of them face real and pressing challenges.

“The vast majority of the Territories are small islands on the frontlines of climate change. Many have faced devastating natural disasters. Others are struggling to build sustainable and self-sufficient economies.

“We must continue to serve as a forum for meaningful dialogue between Territories and administering Powers to enable the peoples of the Territories to make informed decisions about their future.

“I will remain alongside you as you make another push to eradicate colonialism once and for all. I encourage you to be innovative and resolute in your work.

“We owe it to the peoples living in the Territories to complete this historic task. I wish you every success for this 2020 session. We in the Secretariat will do all we can to support you in fulfilling this essential mission of our Organization.”

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Comments (9)

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  1. bobby jones says:

    One must understand that the island of Bermuda is very much (completely) different than all other Colonies around the world as it was never a inhabited place that was taken over by another country. All other colonies had native inhabitants.
    People from England were the very first people to stay on the island after landing and rightly claimed the island for England.
    With this as a fact, the United Nations should rightly take Bermuda off of their list of what they call Colonies. Please note that I do not dispute any of the other places being listed.

    • Question says:

      The same is the case in the Falkland Islands.

    • PBanks says:

      Would you be in favour of Bermuda becoming a full fledged UK district/county instead of its current situation? Or have a similar relationship as Guadeloupe and Martinique do with France?

  2. mixitup says:

    “People from England were the very first people to stay on the island after landing and rightly claimed the island for England.”

    Yep..that’s the ‘story’

    • Toodle-oo says:

      err , do you know a different one ? People wrecked here prior to 1609 either somehow made it off or died here .
      Or are you one of those people who believe that there was an indigenous population that were eradicated ? lol

    • question says:

      That’s the story because that’s basically what happened.

    • saud says:

      By ‘Story’ you mean factual truth, of course….not the myth that there were ‘native people’ here….that’s just laughable.

    • bluenose says:

      You know differently?

    • Bermewjan says:

      No, that’s the fact. Modern negative news designed to blackwash Bermudian history cannot change that, but by all means spew on.