Lauding Timor-Leste’s independence and the self-determination votes held in Tokelau in the South Pacific, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the United Nations decolonization body to continue its work with the administering Governments and the people of the remaining non-self-governing territories.
“I commend the Special Committee for its accomplishments to date and for its steadfast commitment to ridding the world of colonialism. The Secretariat stands ready to continue lending all possible support to your important work in the year ahead,” Mr. Ban said in a message delivered by B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, to the Special Committee of 24 on decolonization.
The meeting which started today coincided with the completion of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism and the 50th anniversary of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, whose implementation the Committee monitors.
The Secretary-General called for creative solutions for the remaining 16 non-self-governing territories, which include Western Sahara and the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).
The smallest disputed area is the Pitcairn Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean, a British overseen territory with a population of 48.
“If the United Nations is to fulfill its obligations in supporting the legitimate aspirations of the peoples of these territories, a pragmatic and realistic approach – taking into account the specific circumstances of each – is most likely to lead to concrete results,” the Secretary-General said.