Deputy Secretary-General says decolonization is an ‘unfinished’ story

Deputy Secretary-General says decolonization is an ‘unfinished’ story

Asha-Rose Migiro
The United Nations’ involvement with the decolonization movement is a “success story, albeit an unfinished one,” Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said today at the world body’s Headquarters in New York.

Given the existence of 16 Non-Self-Governing territories in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Pacific, “there clearly remains work to do,” Ms. Migiro said at the opening of the annual meeting of the 24-member Special Commission on Decolonization.

“The United Nations and the international community have a responsibility to bring about a speedy, successful and sustainable solution for the total eradication of colonialism,” she added. “And if we are to close this chapter in human affairs, we need to focus on pragmatic steps.”

The Deputy Secretary-General cited the Pacific Territory of Tokelau as a positive example. Although last February the citizens of Tokelau elected to remain a Non-Self-Governing Territory administered by New Zealand, both sides have agreed to move forward by holding another referendum this November to decide whether the Territory should attain self-government in free association with New Zealand.

Ms. Migiro voiced hope that Tokelau’s experience would inspire other Territories and administering Powers to progress towards self-determination for people in the areas involved.

She declared that administrating Powers “should do their utmost to muster the political will necessary for implementing the principles enshrined in the UN Charter,” which obligates them to bring the Territories under their administration to an appropriate level of self-government.

At the time of the UN’s creation in 1945, there were 72 Non-Self-Governing territories and since then, the Organization has helped more than 80 million people around the globe exercise their right of self-determination.