Decolonization Committee Reviews Situations in 18 Territories; Special Meeting on Declaration Asked

UN Chronicle, December 1989 | Go to article overview
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Decolonization Committee Reviews Situations in 18 Territories; Special Meeting on Declaration Asked


The Special Committee on decolonization at its 1989 session (New York, 7-18 August) recommended that the General Assembly hold in October 1990 a special commemorative meeting to observe the thirtieth anniversary of the Assembly's 1960 Declaration on decolonization, and adopt a commemorative declaration at that session. Other anniversary activities would include holding international seminars on decolonization and disseminating publications and other materials on decolonization.

The 24-member body considered a wide range of decolonization issues, adopting 8 resolutions and 1 consensus text and approving 20 reports, all to be transmitted to the General Assembly for consideration.

Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar told the Committee that the past 30 years had seen remarkable achievements in the field of decolonization, but the fact remained that some 19 Territories, with a population of some 3 million, had yet to exercise their right to self-determination and independence.

Many of those Territories might have escaped the spotlight of world attention because they were small and remote, but that had not meant any lessening of interest or responsibility by the United Nations. The Organization's contribution to the decolonization process in those remaining Territories depended to a great extent on the degree of support and cooperation it received from the administering Powers concerned.

He urged administering Powers to facilitate the dispatch of UN visiting missions to secure information on prevailing conditions and to ascertain the wishes and aspirations of the peoples. He also urged them to provide the Committee with the information required by the Charter.

Committee Chairman Tesfaye Tadesse of Ethiopia said that attention must be focused on the remaining dependent Territories, and that co-operation with administering Powers was essential to its work.

During the two-week session, the Committee approved recommendations by its Sub-Committee on Small Territories regarding self-determination in 13 small Territories administered by the United Kingdom, the United States and New Zealand in the Atlantic, Pacific and Caribbean. It also dealt with situations in New Caledonia, the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), East Timor, Western Sahara and Puerto Rico.

Action was taken with regard to activities of foreign economic and other interests; military activities by colonial Powers; dissemination of information on decolonization implementation of the 1960 Declaration on decolonization by the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations; visiting missions to Territories; and information from Non-Self-Governing Territories.

The Sub-Committee on Small Territories was in session from 10 March to 20 June, while the Sub-Committee on Petitions, Information and Assistance met between 14 March and 12 June.

In addition to Chairman Tadesse, other Committee officers were: Oscar Oramas Oliva of Cuba, Sverre Bergh Johansen of Norway and Lubomir Dolejs of Czechoslovakia, Vice-Chairmen; and Mohammad Naidat Shaheed of Syria, Rapporteur.

World Court acts on US-Italy case, two other proceedings begun

A five-member Chamber of the International Court of justice on 20 July rejected allegations by the United States that Italy had breached their 1948 Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation. Reparations claimed by the United States were also rejected. It was alleged that the Italian company ELSI, wholly owned by two United States corporations, had violated Treaty provisions.

On 18 July, the Court fixed time-limits for written proceedings in the case brought by Nauru in May 1989 against Australia, regarding a dispute over rehabilitation of phosphate lands mined under Australian administration before Nauruan independence.

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