UN Decolonization Committee’s Resolutions

November 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

The United Nations Fourth Committee [Special Political and Decolonization] approved 14 draft resolutions concerning decolonization, with most of the resolutions passing with over 100 votes; with Israel, the United Kingdom, and United States voting against some of them.

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.

Map via the UN website of what they deem to be the “Non-Self-Governing Territories”

UN non self govern map 2021

A statement from the UN on November 11th said, “The Fourth Committee [Special Political and Decolonization] approved 14 draft resolutions concerning decolonization, as well as another on assistance in mine action and a decision on the body’s future programme of work, as members completed their work for the main part of the General Assembly’s seventy sixth session.

“Following the Committee’s first day of action on 9 November, the work brings the total number of resolutions approved during the main part of the session to 34, and the total number of decisions to three. They will next be forwarded to the General Assembly for adoption.

“The Committee then took up a series of texts under its decolonization cluster, which were contained in the 2020 Report of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples [document A/75/23].

“Acting without a vote, members approved draft resolutions titled “Question of Bermuda” [draft resolution VI, chapter V, p.44]; “Question of the British Virgin Islands” [draft resolution VII chapter V, p.48]; “Question of the Cayman Islands” [draft resolution VIII, chapter V, p.52]; “Question of French Polynesia” [draft resolution IX, chapter V, p.56]; “Question of Guam” [draft resolution X, chapter V, p.60]; “Question of Montserrat” [draft resolution XI, chapter V, p.66]; “Question of New Caledonia” [draft resolution XII, chapter V, p.71].

“They further approved drafts resolutions titled “Question of Pitcairn” [draft resolution XIII, chapter V, p.78]; “Question of Saint Helena” [draft resolution XIV, chapter V, p.82]; “Question of Tokelau” [draft resolution XV, chapter V, p.86]; “Question of the Turks and Caicos Islands” [draft resolution XVI, chapter V, p.90]; and “Question of the United States Virgin Islands” [draft resolution XVII, chapter V, p.95].

“Taking up another draft resolution contained in the same report, titled “Dissemination of information on decolonization” [draft resolution XVIII, chapter V, p.120], the Committee approved it by a recorded vote of 153 in favour to 3 against [Israel, United Kingdom, United States] with 2 abstentions [France, Togo].

“By its terms, the General Assembly would request that the Department of Global Communications continue its efforts to update web based information on the assistance programmes available to the Non SelfGoverning Territories. It would also request that the Department, and the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, implement the recommendations of the Special Committee on Decolonization.

“The Committee also approved another draft resolution in the same report, titled “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples” [draft resolution XIX, chapter V, p.122], by a recorded vote of 120 votes in favour to 3 against [Israel, United Kingdom, United States], with 39 abstentions.

“By its terms, the Assembly would call upon administering Powers to cooperate fully with the Special Committee to develop and finalize a constructive programme of work for the Non Self Governing Territories to facilitate implementation of the Special Committee’s mandate as well as relevant resolutions.

“Moreover, it calls upon administering Powers to ensure that economic and other activities in the Territories do not adversely affect the interests of their peoples but instead promote development, and to terminate military activities and eliminate military bases in the Territories.

“The Committee then took up a series of drafts on implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.

“Acting again without a vote, the Committee approved individual draft resolutions contained in the 2020 Report of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples [document A/75/23].

“Those were titled as follows: “Question of Bermuda” [draft resolution VI, chapter V, p.44]; “Question of the British Virgin Islands” [draft resolution VII chapter V, p.48]; “Question of the Cayman Islands” [draft resolution VIII, chapter V, p.52]; “Question of French Polynesia” [draft resolution IX, chapter V, p.56]; “Question of Guam” [draft resolution X, chapter V, p.60]; “Question of Montserrat” [draft resolution XI, chapter V, p.66]; “Question of New Caledonia” [draft resolution XII, chapter V, p.71]; “Question of Pitcairn” [draft resolution XIII, chapter V, p.78]; “Question of Saint Helena” [draft resolution XIV, chapter V, p.82]; “Question of Tokelau” [draft resolution XV, chapter V, p.86]; “Question of the Turks and Caicos Islands” [draft resolution XVI, chapter V, p.90]; and “Question of the United States Virgin Islands” [draft resolution XVII, chapter V, p.95].

“Taking up another draft resolution contained in the same report, titled “Dissemination of information on decolonization” [draft resolution XVIII, chapter V, p.120], the Committee approved it by a recorded vote of 153 in favour to 3 against [Israel, United Kingdom, United States], with 2 abstentions [France, Togo].

“The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking in explanation of his country’s position, said the obligation placed on the Secretariat to publicize decolonization issues places an unwarranted drain on the scarce resources of the United Nations, and as such the resolution is unacceptable.

“The Committee then turned to the draft resolution titled “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples”, also contained in the same report [draft resolution XIX, chapter V, p.122]. It approved that text by a recorded 120 votes in favour to 3 against [Israel, United Kingdom, United States], with 39 abstentions.

“Speaking in explanation of position, the representative of the United Kingdom said his delegation voted against the resolution as some of its elements are unacceptable. He further noted that the United Kingdom remains committed to modernizing its relationship with its overseas Territories while fully taking into account the views of their peoples.”

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