Importance of UN decolonization work stressed at Caribbean seminar in Havana

Importance of UN decolonization work stressed at Caribbean seminar in Havana

The United Nations has completed a three-day decolonization seminar in Havana, Cuba, which attracted a record number of participants who focused on new challenges facing the world's Non-Self-Governing Territories.

The seminar, which was attended by 124 participants - more than any such event held over the past decade - adopted a report containing a series of recommendations for the General Assembly's "Special Committee of 24," which deals with decolonization issues.

As the seminar concluded on Friday, the Chairman of the Special Committee, Julian R. Hunte, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Saint Lucia, said that at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the business of decolonization was not something to be relegated to the back burner. "To be free no matter how small they [the Non-Self-Governing Territories] are -- that is what the Committee is about," he said.

Cuba's Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Abelardo Moreno Fernandez, told participants that peoples of the Southern Hemisphere were being "recolonized" as problems of debt, unequal trade terms, contagious diseases and a lack of drinking water worsened. He said the Special Committee's regional seminars were important not only to supplement the Committee's work but also as a vehicle to inform international opinion on everything that remained to be done in order to achieve decolonization, and on the important role played by the UN in pursuit of that goal.

The 17 remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories are: Western Sahara, American Samoa, East Timor, Guam, New Caledonia, Pitcairn, Tokelau, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands/Malvinas, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St. Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands.