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Chair Report TIMUN 2009 Committee:

General Assembly 3

Issue:

Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to

Student Officer:

Colonial Countries and People Zeynep Mance

Description and Background: UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and People, also known as the UN Resolution 1514, on December 14, 1960. The purpose of the resolution was to eradicate colonialism and it was a significant landmark for decolonizing. The Declaration states that "the subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights, is contrary to the United Nations Charter, and is an impediment to the promotion of world peace and cooperation, and that steps should be taken to transfer, unconditionally, all powers to the Trust and Non-SelfGoverning Territories so that they might enjoy complete freedom and independence". Considering that there were several colonial powers in the UN, there were abstentions to the resolution, even though no one voted against. Eighty-nine member states were for the resolution and the nine countries which abstained are as stated the colonial powers including Australia, France, Belgium, UK and USA. In 1962, the General Assembly established 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 of 24 on Decolonization) to evaluate and assess the economic, political and social conditions in all of the Non-Self-Governing Territories. In 1990, UN General Assembly declared the decade 1990-2000 the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism and created a Plan of Action. In the 40th anniversary of the Resolution 1514, the decade 2001-2010 was declared as the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism. Delibarate location of the Resolution was GA, not Security Council where permanent members have the right to veto the resolution. It has to be pointed out that the permanent members include USA, UK and France (these countries abstained the resolution). Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories: According to Chapter XI of the UN Charter Non-Self-Governing Territories are defined as, “territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of selfgovernment,” and that “the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount”. When UN was formed in 1945, 750 million people were living in non-self-governing territories and now the number is 2 million. Thus, 80 countries “decolonizalized” since 1945. There were 72 Trust Territories which were placed under the United Nations International Trusteeship Council. After the number was reduced to 11, Trust Territories have achieved self-


governing (or “self-determination”) through independence or free association with an independent State. Currently, there are 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories remaining, all of which is expected to become microstates and only four of them have populations exceeding 100,000. It is agreed upon by the members of UN that each case has to be tackled one by one because throught the historical background of this issue, UN observed that one formula doesn’t fit all. The urgency of the task has to be stressed because the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism is about to end in few months. The UN’s current list of the 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories are listed below:

Country name

Main administering Status country

Western Sahara

Morocco

Multiple regions, provinces, and prefectures

393,831

Saint Helena and dependencies

United Kingdom

Overseas territory

7,601

Bermuda

United Kingdom

Overseas territory

Falkland Islands Anguilla British Virgin Islands Cayman Islands Montserrat Turks and Caicos Islands United States Virgin Islands Gibraltar

United Kingdom United Kingdom United Kingdom United Kingdom United Kingdom United Kingdom

American Samoa

United States

Guam

United States

New Caledonia Pitcairn Islands Tokelau

France United Kingdom New Zealand

Overseas territory Overseas territory Overseas territory Overseas territory Overseas territory Overseas territory Unincorporated organized territory Overseas territory Unincorporated unorganized territory Unincorporated organized territory Sui Generis Collectivity Overseas territory Self-administering territory

United States United Kingdom

Population

66,536 (listed as 6,997) 3,140 14,108 24,041 47,862 5,079 22,352 109,840 28,002 64,827 175,877 224,824 48 1,433

Table 1 (www.wikipedia.org)

Disputes related to Non-Self-Governing Territories: Question of Western Sahara: Western Sahara is a territory which is believed to have oil deposits and rich phosphate sources, in the north-west of Africa. The dispute is between Morocco and the Polisario Front which is an independence movement created by the indigenous population of Western Sahara. Spain colonized Western Sahara until 1976. In the same year the territory was annexed by Morocco. As a result Polisario Front established Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). In 1991, a ceasefire between Morocco and the Polisario Front took place with the observation of MINURSO. Since the UN does not officially recognize the territory, a referendum is suspended and the status of Western Sahara is still disputed. On the other hand, AU and a plethora of African countries recognize Polisario Front. During the 1980s, •


the “Berm” wall was established which divided Western Sahara into two regions (one being under the control of Morocco and the other one being under the control of Polisario Front which is also called the “Free Zone”). Part of the dispute is that Morocco has the control over the economy of Western Sahara. In Polisario’s point of view, Morocco exploits the resources of the region and they are hampering the Western Saharans “right and access to self-determination”. • Question of Guam: Guam is an island located in the North Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and the Philippines. It was under the US jurisdiction until 1941 when Japan captured it. Yet, in 1945, the US reclaimed the territory. Even though there was a referendum in 1987, US remained as its administering power. United States has a very important military base situated in Guam because it makes up the “Strategic Triangle” which also includes bases in Alaska and Hawaii. In 2000s, China expanded its military in that area, so the US announced that they will spend 10 billion dollars to move 9000 Figure 1 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/Western_sah dependents and 8000 marines from ara_map_showing_morocco_and_polisaro.gif Okinawa which will also led the arrival of 35000 staff and personnel. So the indigenous population of Guam started campaigning for selfdetermination and the removal of the US military. •

Question of Gibraltar: Gibraltar is a strategically significant region connecting North Atlantic and Mediterranean. Gibraltar had been contested between the UK and Spain for many years. In 1967, Gibraltarians voted to remain under UK’s administering power. In 2002, debates on joint sovereignty started but also rejected by the indigenous people in the territory with a referendum. UK and Spain signed an agreement in 2006 about border controls. However, in year 2007, the constitution was established which gave Gibraltar a self-government and UK remained as the power who controlled internal security, foreign relations and financial stability.

There have been disputes going on about Falkland Islands, Tokelau American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the United States Virgin Island as well. Possible solutions and the Future: Proposed solutions to the conflict include the Special Committee of 24 and the resolution 1514 (and other resolutions based on 1514). Yet, Special Committee of 24, needs to improve its cooperation’s with the indigenous people in the Non-Self-Governing Territories should adopt a better understanding concerning the Administering Power’s functions in these territories. As the


SG of UN, Ban Ki-Moon stated “colonialism has no place in today’s world”, UN is working to guarantee the autonomy of the 16 non-self-governing territories (the deadline was 2010, it is currently ambivalent what the new deadline will be). It is very important to consider that while the transition between being a non-self-governing territory to a self-governing territory, indigenous people’s rights (rights to self-determination, right to control their natural resources etc). Key Terms and Relevant Resolutions: • • • • • • • • •

Non-Self-Governing Territories Trusteeship Council and “Trust” Territories Self-Determination Chapter XI of the UN Charter which is concerned with Non-Self –Governing Territories Resolution 1514 (Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples) Resolution 57/132 (Economic and other activities which affect the interests of the indigenous peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories) Resolution 62/116 (The Question of Western Sahara) Resolution 62/121 (The Question of Tokelau) Resolution 62/118 (The Questions of American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guam, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the United States Virgin Island)

Works Cited “Chapter XI of the UN Charter .” United Nations. UN, n.d. Web. 9 Oct. 2009. <http://www.un.org/‌aboutun/‌charter/‌chapt11.htm >. “Country and Territory Profiles.” BBC. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Oct. 2009. <http://www.bbc.co.uk>. “GA/‌SPD/‌396.” United Nations. UN, n.d. Web. 9 Oct. 2009. <http://www.un.org/‌News/‌Press/‌docs/‌2008/‌gaspd396.doc.htm>. “Resolution 1514.” United Nations. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Oct. 2009. <http://daccessods.un.org/‌access.nsf/‌Get?Open&DS=A/‌RES/‌1514(XV)%20&Lang=E>. “United Nations and Decolonisation .” United Nations and Decolonisation . United Nations, n.d. Web. 9 Oct. 2009. <http://www.un.org/‌Depts/‌dpi/‌decolonization/‌main.htm>. “UN List of Non-Self-Governing Territories .” Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Oct. 2009. <http://en.wikipedia.org/‌wiki/‌United_Nations_list_of_Non-Self-Governing_Territories>. UN Treaty. United Nations, n.d. Web. 9 Oct. 2009. <http://untreaty.un.org/‌cod/‌avl/‌ha/‌dicc/‌dicc.html>.



Zeynep