Special Committee on Decolonization - 7th Meeting

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SIX OFFICIAL 22-Jun-2017 01:20:06
The Special Committee on Decolonization approves 9 draft resolutions, including text calling for fair self-determination process in French Polynesia.
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The Special Committee on Decolonization sent nine draft resolutions to the General Assembly today, including on the Question of French Polynesia, garnering calls from petitioners who attested on one hand to the island’s improved economic recovery, and on the other to a financially abusive relationship with the administering Power.

By the text, approved without a vote, the Assembly would stress that its 2013 resolution 67/265 — providing for the re-inscription of French Polynesia on the List of Non-Self-Governing Territories — had been reaffirmed by an assessment, presented in 2016 to its Fourth Committee (Decolonization), that the Territory did not meet the full measure of self-government. It would call on the administering Power to intensify dialogue with French Polynesia to facilitate a fair self-determination process.

On that point, Manuel Terai, Délégué aux Affaires Internationales Européennes et du Pacifique, citing calls for French Polynesia to choose between independence and economic development, said its people had chosen the latter. The business climate had improved and household financial assets were increasing. Free and democratic elections were lawful and transparent. “French Polynesia is not a colony that needs to be decolonized,” he said, urging the Special Committee to respect the choice of the majority of its population.

Richard Ariihau Tuheiava, of the Assembly of French Polynesia, said various inquiries had revealed a financially abusive relationship with the administering Power, which had kept full control over French Polynesia’s natural resources. “A wide range of current and potential sources of income derived from our territory represented revenue that should be used in the development of our new economic and social model of an independent economy,” he said. Instead, that revenue was transferred to France.

Carlyle Corbin, of the Dependency Studies Project, said a “vacuum of analysis” had led to slow progress on decolonization. He proposed modernizing the Special Committee’s work methods to allow adequate time to address the issues of small territories. He also called for an “organic link” between decolonization resolutions and the United Nations budget, adding that the proposed budget for 2018-2019 contained no specific reference to the actions called for in those texts.

Venezuela’s delegate expressed concern that the administering Power was not cooperating. French Polynesia represented a colonial situation that must be resolved and the Special Committee must remain committed to its decolonization.

In other action, the Special Committee approved a draft on the question of New Caledonia, by which the Assembly would note concerns expressed regarding the challenges encountered in the provincial elections process. It would call on France, the administering Power, to consider developing an education programme to inform the people of New Caledonia about the nature of self-determination so they could be better prepared to make a future decision on that matter.

Papua New Guinea’s representative, introducing the draft, said New Caledonia was at a critical stage to decide its future, with a 2018 referendum approaching. A fair, transparent plebiscite was imperative. He urged the administering Power and local authorities to address concerns that potential voters could be excluded from the process. Sierra Leone’s delegate expressed unease that 20,000 Kanak potential voters had been left off electoral rolls.

On the Question of Tokelau, the Special Committee approved without a vote a draft (document A/AC.109/2017/L.7) that would have the Assembly recall Tokelau’s National Strategic Plan for 2016-2020, prioritizing good governance, human development, infrastructure development, sustainability and climate change adaptation.

Also without a vote, the Special Committee approved draft resolutions on Anguilla (document A/AC.109/2017/L.14), Bermuda (document A/AC.109/2017/L.15), British Virgin Islands (document A/AC.109/2017/L.16), Cayman Islands (document A/AC.109/2017/L.17), Guam (document A/AC.109/2017/L.18), and Montserrat (document A/AC.109/2017/L.19). By their terms, the Assembly would reaffirm the inalienable right of the people of those Territories to self-determination, in conformity with the United Nations Charter and General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV), containing the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.
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