Special Political And Decolonization Committee
Statement of the Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. New York, 7 October 2013.
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) on the items relating to decolonization in the Agenda of this General Assembly Committee.
It is a pleasure to have you chairing the Special Political and Decolonization Committee for you are also the Permanent Representative of El Salvador, a sister nation member of CELAC. In like manner, I seize this opportunity to congratulate Ambassador Noel Nelson Messone, Permanent Representative of Gabon, for the way he directed the works of the Committee during the 67th Session.
CELAC wishes to reiterate its firm support to the process of decolonization and stresses the importance of ensuring that every people in the world exercises their inalienable right to self-determination, one of the core objectives of the United Nations since its foundation, which has been stated in Resolutions 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960 and 1541 (XV) of 15 December 1960, as well as in other resolutions relevant to the General Assembly.
The process of decolonization, which has allowed the achievement of independence of many peoples, constitutes one of the most outstanding tasks in the history of the Organization. In this process, the establishment of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee in 1961 stands out, as well as the measures adopted by the Secretary-General, which has enabled the decolonization of over 80 territories.
After 51 years of the establishment of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee, we can proudly assert that its work has turned into outstanding results. However, the fact that 17 territories remain still as “Non-Self-Governing Territories”, some of which are geographically located in our region. This reveals that the decolonization process is not complete yet and that the elimination of colonialism should remain as a priority of the United Nations. We, as Member States and as an Organization, have the responsibility to keep our commitment to theses territories.
Since last time we gathered in this Committee, last fall of 2012, the list of non-self-governing territories has increased with the inclusion of French Polynesia. This way, our responsibilities grow bigger when reviewing the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to the Colonial Countries and Peoples.
Encouraged by the Declaration of the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States would like to confirm and renew its full commitment to this goal and once again call upon the Administering Powers to adopt the necessary measures in order to attain the rapid decolonization of each of the non-self-governing territories, taking into account the specific situation in each case, which includes the colonial situations defined as “special and particular” to involve sovereignty disputes.
In addition, CELAC invites the Administering Powers to fully cooperate and participate in the works of the Committee on Decolonization and to regularly communicate accurate information on each of the territories under their administration, pursuant to the obligations derived from item e) of Article 73 of the Charter of the United Nations.
CELAC expresses its recognition to the members of the Special Committee on Decolonization for their tireless work and for the report presented in document A/68/23, which recommendations we hope will be adopted by the General Assembly in this Session.
Our Community supports the work of the Department of Public Information and all of its Center of Information, services and components on the spreading of information aimed at promoting the goals of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to the Colonial Countries and Peoples and the Plan of Action for the Eradication of Colonialism, and we request to redouble the efforts to this end. In this regard, we express our recognition for the maintenance of the six official languages in the website on decolonization, with updated content and an appealing design enhancing the work of the United Nations in this matter, the validity of the decolonization mandate and the need to reach the noble and necessary goal of decolonization.
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States reaffirms its position regarding the question of the Malvinas Islands and reiterates its strongest support to the legitimate rights of the Argentine Republic in the sovereignty dispute over the Malvinas, South Georgias and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas, as reaffirmed by the Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States in the Special Communiqué on the Malvinas Islands adopted at the first CELAC Summit held in Santiago, Chile, last January 2013.
On that occasion, the countries of our region stated their permanent interest so that the Governments of the Argentine Republic and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland resume the negotiations in order to find, as soon as possible, a peaceful and definitive solution to such dispute, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Organization (UNO) and the Organization of American States (OAS), as expressed in the previous Declarations of the Rio Group and the Latin American and Caribbean Summit (CALC), particularly the Summit of Riviera Maya, Mexico, of 23 February 2010, which are part of the historical heritage of CELAC. In this regard, they also recalled that the regional support to the Argentine claim towards the British occupation of these territories is included in this heritage.
Moreover, the Heads of States and Government of CELAC reiterated the importance of complying with the provisions of Resolution 31/49 of the United Nations General Assembly, which calls upon both parties to refrain from adopting decisions that entail the introduction of unilateral modifications to the situation while the Islands are subject to the process recommended by the General Assembly; and they underscored the continuous constructive attitude and willingness of the Argentine Government to reach, through negotiation, a peaceful and definitive solution to this anachronistic colonial situation on American soil.
CELAC’s Heads of States and Government also reiterated their call upon the Secretary-General to renew his efforts in fulfilling the mission of good offices entrusted by the General Assembly in successive resolutions, in order to resume the negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute as soon as possible and have us know about the progress made in the compliance of this mission.
The Colonial Question of Puerto Rico has been considered for over 40 years in the Special Committee on Decolonization. As a result, 32 resolutions and decisions have been approved by consensus in the last 14 years. These resolutions reaffirm, inter alia, the inalienable right of the Puerto Rican people to self-determination and independence, pursuant to resolution 1514 (XV) of the General Assembly. In like manner, the resolutions emphasize that Puerto Rico constitute a Latin American and Caribbean nation with its own and distinctive national identity, and request the General Assembly to review in a comprehensive way all the aspects of the Question of Puerto Rico.
The importance of the Latin American and Caribbean character of Puerto Rico was highlighted at the highest level by Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States in the Summit of Santiago, Chile, on January 2013, who also noted the resolutions relevant to the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United Nations and expressed that this is a matter of interest for CELAC.
As to the small islands territories of the Caribbean and the Pacific, which constitute the majority of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States considers it is necessary to continue to take measures to facilitate the sustained and balanced growth of their fragile economies. Those territories should be allowed to exercise their right to self-determination. What is more important, in the context of self-determination, when the will of the majority of the indigenous population colonized is unequivocal; Administering Powers should not thwart this will, directly or indirectly.
For these reasons, CELAC remains concerned by the situation in the Turks and Caicos Islands and underscores the need to ensure truly inclusive, democratic and representative governance in that Territory. CELAC emphasizes that, to achieve good governance and economic stability, the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands must be permitted to meaningfully participate in determining their own future.
Similarly, our Community considers that special attention should be paid to key issues affecting small islands, such as the acceleration in the loss of their territories because of the increase of the sea level as a result of climate change, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions and other natural disasters.
Concerning Western Sahara, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean reaffirms all resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council on this issue, including resolution 67/129 of the United Nations General Assembly, adopted by consensus; and reiterates that, in accordance with this resolution, it continues to strongly support the efforts of the Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy to reach a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution leading to the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the context of arrangements consistent with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and Resolution 1514 (XV) of the General Assembly, as well as other relevant resolutions.
In this regard, taking into account the four rounds of negotiations and the rounds of small informal meetings that have taken place, the Community of Latin-American and Caribbean States trusts that the efforts to promote more intense and substantive negotiations between the parties continue under the Secretary General’s auspices and his Personal Envoy, and in accordance with International Law, with the aim of implementing Security Council resolutions 1754, 1783, 1813, 1871, 1920, 1979, 2044 and 2099 to achieve a definitive solution to this long-standing situation.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States once again reaffirms its commitment to the complete and speedy eradication of colonialism in all its forms and manifestations and reiterates its call to all Member States of this organization to continue contributing in a positive manner to this objective.
Thank you very much.