Annan urges countries to end colonialism, resolve status of non-self-governing territories

Annan urges countries to end colonialism, resolve status of non-self-governing territories

With one-time colony East Timor set to join the community of sovereign States next week, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged countries meeting to examine decolonization issues to resolve the status of Non-Self-Governing Territories.

“There should be no room for colonialism in the twenty-first century. I encourage you to do your utmost to close this chapter of history once and for all,” the Secretary-General said in a message to the Pacific Regional Seminar to Review the Political, Economic and Social Conditions in the Small Island Non-Self-Governing Territories, which opened today in Nadi, Fiji.

Since 1960, when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, more than 80 million people have achieved self-government through independence, integration or free association, Mr. Annan noted.

“Nonetheless, 16 non-self-governing territories remain, and our efforts should continue to ensure that the Declaration is implemented,” he stressed.

The Secretary-General said that meetings such as the Fiji seminar organized by the Assembly’s Special Committee offered the more than 2 million people who still live in the Non-Self-Governing Territories a chance to make their views known on the unique problems they face.

“In recent years, the Committee has found new and creative ways to engage the administering Powers in a dialogue on the future of the Territories,” the Secretary-General said, noting that the panel has called for work programmes to be established on a case-by-case basis so that each territory can freely determine its status and strive towards political, social and economic development.

“I urge all the administering Powers to seize this opportunity, in full consultation with the territorial peoples, to find appropriate arrangements for the future in accordance with all relevant General Assembly resolutions,” Mr. Annan said in his message, which also marked the Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories.