30 October 2013

Paris court rules Flosse corruption appeal to be heard in Tahiti, but delays trial until mid 2004

France’s highest court has rejected a bid to move a court of appeal case of French Polynesia’s president, Gaston Flosse, away from Tahiti.

His lawyers had claimed that the situation in Papeete would undermine the chance of a fair trial.

In January, the criminal court gave Mr Flosse a five-year prison sentence and a 110,000 US dollar fine for corruption as it did to a French advertising executive, Hubert Haddad.

The businessman had paid about two million US dollars in kickbacks over 12 years to Mr Flosse and his party to get public sector contracts.

Mr Flosse admitted receiving some funds but said it wasn’t for personal use but to pay alimony to former mistresses.

Both men were jailed for weeks during the investigation after the French senate lifted Mr Flosse’s parliamentary immunity.

France’s highest court is meanwhile due to release its verdict in another appeal against a corruption conviction related to Mr Flosse’s four-year suspended jail sentence for being part of an illicitly funded system with so-called phantom jobs to advance the policies of his party.

If the conviction is upheld, there is no more appeal avenue left and Mr Flosse has to quit political office.

Also see: France insists French Polynesia's Gaston Flosse is tried in Tahiti

French Polynesia’s Flosse corruption case deferred until next year

French Polynesia’s court of appeal has deferred a case brought by French Polynesia’s president, Gaston Flosse, to the end of June.

In January, the criminal court gave Mr Flosse a five-year prison sentence and a 110,000 US dollar fine for corruption as it did to a French advertising executive, Hubert Haddad.

The businessman had paid about two million US dollars in kickbacks over 12 years to Mr Flosse and his party to get public sector contracts from the OPT telecommunications company.

Last week, the defendants failed in their bid to get France’s highest court to move the appeal case away from Tahiti after claiming they wouldn’t get a fair trial.

However, they succeeded in putting off the case by eight months, arguing that lawyers based in France were not all available.

Only some of the defendants were present, including the tourism minister, Geoffry Salmon, and Gaston Flosse’s secretary, Melba Ortas, who used to collect the cash payments from Hubert Haddad’s company.

The lawyer acting on behalf of the OPT, James Lau, has meanwhile been relieved of his duties amid suggestions that it was a political decision, reflecting Gaston Flosse’s election win in May.

28 October 2013

Vieques violations brought before Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Groups claim US rights violations on Vieques

The (U.S.) National Lawyers Guild and other groups have filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights against the U.S. government in a case involving Puerto Ricans living in the island of Vieques, an emerging tourism hub which was once used as a bombing range.

The petition accuses the U.S. of abuses following decades of live-fire training on the island by the U.S. Navy, which left in 2003 after an errant 500-pound bomb killed a security guard in 1999.

Guild attorney Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan told The Associated Press on Tuesday that families on Vieques suffer serious health conditions because of a toxic environment left by Navy bombing. The petition was in part filed to force the U.S. government to release more information about the extent of the military’s activities on Vieques and its impact on people, she said.

“There’s a lot of information that remains unknown regarding toxic contaminants,” she said. “People are unaware of what is causing their health issues and the continuous contamination of the island.”

The petition was filed Monday on behalf of 10 Vieques residents who had cancer or have relatives who are sick. The residents also accuse Puerto Rico’s government of neglecting Vieques after the Navy’s departure.

The groups are asking the commission to determine whether the U.S. violated any human rights, said Annette Martinez Orabona, director of the human rights clinic at Puerto Rico’s InterAmerican University’s law school. If that occurs, the commission would make a list of recommendations that the U.S. government would be bound to follow, she said.

“We’re not asking for specific reparations, but at some point we will,” she said. She said they are not focused on money but rather on changes including improved health care and more efficient transportation from Vieques to Puerto Rico.

Martinez said the main goal is to get the U.S. government to acknowledge that the military’s target practice adversely affected people’s health.
“That is something that they have denied over and over again,” she said.

Navy spokesman Jim Brantley did not immediately return a request for comment.

A U.S. agency issued a long-awaited report earlier this year saying it found no proof that decades of military practice bombing on Vieques sickened residents who blame it for high rates of cancer, asthma and other illnesses.

The report was released in March and follows four previous assessments and several updates by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry that reached similar conclusions.

Local residents and officials, who blame the military for health problems, have vowed to keep pushing the U.S. government for more studies analyzing the impact of the now-ceased Navy activity on Vieques, which lies east of the U.S. territory’s main island. About 10,000 people live there.

The Navy occupied the island’s eastern and western areas in 1941-2003, using it for warships and aircraft to practice firing live bullets, artillery rounds, rockets, missiles and bombs, according to the report.

The Navy has said its forces accidentally fired 263 rounds of ammunition tipped with depleted uranium in 1999, violating federal law.

That same year, a pilot dropped a bomb on an observation tower and killed a civilian, setting off years of angry protests that led President George W. Bush to end military activity on Vieques in 2003. The property once owned by the Navy is now a national wildlife refuge.

The U.S. has since removed more than 16.5 million pounds of munitions in a cleanup expected to last through at least 2025.

The agency’s director, Dr. Christopher Portier, said the 169-page report reached two conclusions: that there is credible evidence people in Vieques have poorer health than elsewhere in Puerto Rico and that scientists could not find a link between military operations and people’s health.

“That doesn’t mean those linkages don’t exist,” he said. “It means we can’t find credible scientific evidence to support that.”

The agency said that the public water supply was safe and that there were no air contaminants. However, it recommended additional soil testing in residential areas, stating there was still uncertainty about soil contamination because current data were inadequate.

Officials said they found mercury in local seafood, but blamed it on the general presence of the metal worldwide. They also noted that there were no unusually high concentrations of mercury in a fish sampling.

Officials said they did not analyze the possible effect of absorbing a mix of chemicals through food, air and water, saying they did not know the levels of chemicals that residents might have been exposed to.

The agency “recognizes the possibility that this report cannot address accurately the effects of mixtures and cumulative exposures on the health of Viequenses,” the report stated.

During 2001-2003, the U.S. government released four reports stating it found no health hazards in Vieques’ air, soil, seafood and drinking water. Several scientists from the University of Puerto Rico, the University of Georgia and Yale University disagreed, saying residual contaminants were affecting the health of local residents.

In February 2012, a U.S. appeals court upheld a decision to dismiss a lawsuit in which 7,100 residents of Vieques accused the federal government of causing illnesses.

The agency’s report said a higher mortality rate especially from cancer could be partly blamed on a lack of access to adequate medical care.

Caribbean 360
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Thursday October 31, 2013 – Doctors in Puerto Rico have sent a letter to US President Barack Obama requesting him to launch by executive order the decontamination of Vieques and Culebra islands and provide adequate treatment for those harmed by the pollution.

The remedial work in the islands, used for decades as testing grounds by the US Army, would "be the best substantiation of your many times expressed concern for the wellbeing of all the Latino people living in the United States," wrote Eduardo Ibarra, head of the Puerto Rico College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The professional body said it had communicated this same request to President Obama on previous occasions, without receiving an appropriate response.
Medical professionals claim that islanders have shown higher incidences of cancer, hypertension, diabetes, cirrhosis and epilepsy as a consequence of exposure to contaminants.
The latest communication reminded the president that an adequate and permanent clean-up was never carried out on Vieques, which was used for experiments with live munitions and as a practice bombing range, and which left significant contamination.

"As is well known around the world, our pristine Islands of Vieques and Culebra were during more than half a century utilized by the armed forces of the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to practice air to land, water to land and land to land live bombing and also as dumping grounds for military materials," the letter says.The letter adds that a number of scientific studies have shown that "the population of those thin paradisiac islands have been the innocent victims of high exposure to extremely dangerous contaminants, particularly and conspicuously Mercury.

"As a direct consequence of such contamination of their environment, its population has shown unacceptable higher incidence and prevalence of cancer, hypertension, diabetes, cirrhosis and epilepsy," the letter states.

The US Navy left Vieques a decade ago, and since then only five percent of the contaminants are said to have been removed.

25 October 2013

France seeks to exploit the natural resources of its Pacific colonies

Illustration by Hawaii.edu

"Claims by France to the resources of its Pacific territories violate international law which provides that the natural resources of a territory, including its marine resources, are owned by the people of the territory - not the cosmopole. This has been confirmed in rulings of the International Court of Justice (ICOJ), and in annual United Nations (U.N.) resolutions. Just last December, the General Assembly expressed its deep concern for 'any activities aimed at exploiting the natural and human resources of the Non-Self-Governing Territories to the detriment of the interests of the inhabitants of those Territories.' It should be clearer than ever as to why the French Government fought (unsuccessfully) to prevent the U.N. re-inscription of French Polynesia as a colony - control of  the resources of the five million square kilometres of the Pacific Ocean can be a significant deterrent to compliance with the rule of law."  

-  a Decolonization Expert

France advised to expand seabed zone 

for rare earth mining

The French Economic, Social and Environmental Council has urged the government to secure resources in the seabed off France’s overseas territories.

In a report, the Council says the Law of the Sea allows for France to lay claim to an additional two million square kilometres, half of which are in French Polynesia. It says France would be negligent not to profit from this as French Polynesia has rare earths, whose reserves are held by China in a near monopoly.

The report also points to cobalt off Wallis and Futuna and hydrocarbon deposits near New Caledonia. However, the report says the area is contested by Vanuatu.


20 October 2013

Spain and Morocco plan oil exploration near Canary Islands


 The Spanish and Moroccan governments are moving forward with plans to explore for oil near the Canary Islands despite opposition from the tourism industry and environmentalists in the Spanish archipelago.

The two governments have authorized oil exploration projects in the area even though the maritime boundaries are not set, with territorial limits established by an imaginary line equidistant between the Moroccan coast and the Canary Islands, which belong to Spain.

Some residents of the islands, whose economy relies on tourism, are concerned about the possible effects of an oil spill, while others contend the energy industry would create jobs in a region dealing with an unemployment rate of 33 percent.

The fields in the area could hold up to 1.4 billion barrels of petroleum and produce 140,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude, helping Spain meet 10 percent of its daily demand for oil, Spanish oil company Repsol said.

Morocco, meanwhile, said Scottish oil company Cairn Energy planned to begin exploration work in the next few weeks in blocks adjacent to those granted by the Spanish government to Repsol some 60 kilometers (37 miles) off Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.

The Cajun Express rig leased by Cairn Energy will begin operations in early October some 555 kilometers (about 345 miles) northeast of the Canary Islands.

The start of exploration by Repsol, which is working with Germany's RWE and Australia's Woodside, is still pending completion of the environmental review process.

SEE ALSO:   No 0il Canarias

18 October 2013

Virgin Islands Hunger Action for reparations for Danish Slavery

African-Caribbean Reparations 
and Resettlement Alliance (ACRRA)

For Immediate Release


RE: Failure of USVI (U.S. Virgin Islands) Senate to Act on Reparations
WHO: Senate President Shawn-Michael Malone
Members of the 30th Legislature of the USVI
ACRRA President Mr. Shelley Moorhead


WHEN: October 23rd, 2013 – Until Favorable Senate Action on  Reparations is Taken

WHERE: USVI Capitol Building (St. Thomas Legislature)

WHY: To inspire USVI lawmakers to act on matters relevant to the pursuit of reparations by the territory and to bring awareness to the outstanding and unresolved colonial injustices which foster underdevelopment in the former Danish West Indies.



The African-Caribbean Reparations and Resettlement Alliance (ACRRA) will commence a hunger action on October 23, 2013 at the grounds of the Capitol Building in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.  Purposed to inspire U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) lawmakers to act on matters relevant to the seeking of reparations by the territory, the hunger initiative will be carried out by ACRRA’s president Mr. Shelley Moorhead.

In a letter notifying Senate President Shawn-Michael Malone of the organization’s planned action, Moorhead writes, “I will be invoking my constitutional right to petition our government and abiding by all applicable U.S. Virgin Islands laws.”  The longtime Virgin Islands reparations leader gave notice on October 4th and informed Senator Malone that he will “remain there without eating or consuming food for as much time as will be necessary for senators to take favorable action on reparations legislation.”

It has been more than eight (8) years since the USVI Legislature firmly decided to seek reparations from Denmark by resolution unanimously passed by the body on May 4, 2005.  Yet, to date, no action has been taken by the institution to pursue reparatory justice for the people of the territory who are descendants of Africans enslaved in the Danish West Indies.  For as many years as the senate has not acted on reparations, ACRRA has been on the forefront of the issue advocating locally and internationally for the socioeconomic and humanitarian repair of Virgin Islanders by the Kingdom of Denmark.

In an October 4th letter to Malone, ACRRA’s president outlines nearly a decade of gross neglect and inaction on the part of many USVI senators.  He writes, “It has not been the manipulation of the Danish state or any stalling on the part of institutions at Copenhagen, but rather, it has been the failure of the first branch of our government in the U.S. Virgin Islands to, as it has legislated, ‘Seek Reparations from Denmark’ which has been the primary delay of reparatory justice in the territory.”

Moorhead in his letter recalled the mandate Senator Malone issued the reparations leader on June 16, 2005, when he wrote to him urging, “I encourage you to exhaust all your resources to try to find measures to make amends for the immeasurable years of suffering and disdain” experienced by Virgin Islands forefathers.  “These measures”, Moorhead replies, “I have found and all my resources have I exhausted at your encouragement. Certainly, as my elected representative and the man of good moral character that you are, you have not asked of me that which you yourself are unwilling to do for our people.”

With Caribbean governments throughout the region having formed reparations committees, and now preparing the moral and legal cases for compensation and educating their publics accordingly; what has the 30th Legislature of the U.S. Virgin Islands done to mobilize the seeking of reparations for its people? What can the descendants of enslaved Africans in our territory expect from this representative body as it pertains to reparations for slavery?  These questions Moorhead will attempt to get answered by senators during his multi-week reparations hunger action.

In August to September of 2008, the ACRRA president carried out a 34-day hunger action on the steps of Government House on St. Croix.  Refusing to leave, to eat, or consume food until Virgin Islands reparations issues were adequately addressed, Moorhead held the de Jongh administration to task receiving two (2) weeks into his hunger action a 3-page letter from Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr. outlining his administration’s position on reparations.

ACRRA Media Team

Shelley Moorhead, President of ACRRA

17 October 2013

Bonaire group petitions for self-determination referendum

Foundation “Nos Ke Boneiru Bek”

Press Release

Lieutenant Governor of the Public Entity Bonaire

The Government of Bonaire

The Island Council of the Government of the Public Entity of Bonaire

Mr. Ronald Plasterk, Minister of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK)

Mr. Wilbert Stolte, Office of the Kingdom Representative

Permanent Committee Members,
Permanent Committee Members of the 1st and 2nd Chamber,

Kralendijk, 10 Oktober 2013

Dear Authorities,
Today, October 10, 2013 is exactly three (3) years that the people of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba has been incorporated or annexed in the Dutch State Order, Polity,and without her explicit and legitimate consent. Your responsibilities as representatives of our people to their welfare is priority and paramount in this context but also extremely important is that you are aware of and realize that right for self-determination does not belong to administrators and politicians but to peoples.
Leading to the transition on10-10-10 and since then until now there were several individual, group and other protests, demonstrations, signatures actions, protest letters etc. directed to you with the aim to gain attention on this unfinished discussion and trying to get your collaboration to help resolve this impasse and to reconcile and reunite the people again. This is another serious attempt to do so and hopefully the last as it seems that is seems not possible to force further the patience of our kindhearted and humble people.
On behalf of Foundation"Nos Ke Boneiru Bek" (CoC regnr: 8472) a platform for groups and organizations and individuals of our society and with the statutory objective "to the letter and the spirit of Article 73 of the Charter of the United Nations to achieve self-government of the people of Bonaire we bring the following to your attention:
The Country of the Netherlands Antilles originally existed since December 15th 1954 and was comprised of six islands (Curacao,Aruba, St.Maarten, Bonaire St.Eustatius and Saba), which each formed a separate administrative unit, called “eilandgebied” (island territory). As such, each Island Territory had its own local government. In addition, there was a central government for the Netherlands Antilles, as well as a senate that was comprised of representatives of all six (6) islands.
In 1986, Aruba became a separate Country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, while the other five islands remained within the Netherlands Antilles.
In the early nineties, there were discussions within the Netherlands Antilles regarding the constitutional status of the Country as a body. There were referendums held on all five (5) islands. All islands had the opportunity to choose between:

A. Remaining part of the Netherlands Antilles. However, the Netherlands Antilles would then be restructured;
B. Separate status and as such becoming a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands;
C. Direct ties with the Netherlands;
D. Independence.
All islands of the Netherlands Antilles, including Bonaire, opted to remain in the Netherlands Antilles. As the intended restructuring of the Netherlands Antilles did not take place, discussions among the islands once again took place regarding remaining within the Netherlands Antilles as a country. St. Maarten was the first to have its referendum in June of 2000, which sparked the other islands to have their referendum in 2005.
During the referendum in Bonaire the following options were provided, which yielded the following results:  voters turnout of 56.1%:
 Option                                                                  Votes       %                              
A: Remain part of the Netherlands Antilles               853     15.94%
B: Direct constitutional ties with the Netherlands    3182     59.45%
C. Autonomous country within the Kingdom          1290     24.10%
D: Independence                                                        27     0.5%
Following the referenda on the various islands, the first Round Table Conference between the islands, the Netherlands Antillean government and the Netherlands took place on November 26th 2005. It was agreed that Curacao and St. Maarten would become countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, while the three other islands would become directly part of the Netherlands as a "Public Entity".
Around 33 % only of all the people of Bonaire that could have voted, including 16 & 17 years old and foreigners without a Dutch nationality, had chosen for a direct link with Holland. However, it was decided that Bonaire instead of direct constitutional ties with the Netherlands would be integrated as part of the Netherlands.
The Netherlands Antilles ceased to exist on October 10th 2010. The islands, with the exception of Bonaire & St Eustatius, obtained the status which they voted for during the 2005 referendum. As mentioned, it was decided upon that together with Saba and St. Eustatius, Bonaire (together referred to as the BES islands) would become a part of the Netherlands. As such, each one of the BES island would be a "public entity" of the Netherlands.
Unlike the situation of the Netherlands Antilles whereby Bonaire would have a representative in the parliament - and depending on the coalition, also a representative in government - Bonaire does not have any representative whatsoever in the Parliament or the Senate of the Netherlands. Nevertheless, said bodies - the legislature - create and implement laws that are applicable on Bonaire.
It was agreed upon by all partners within the Kingdom of the Netherlands that there would be an evaluation of the current status after a period of 5 years. As such, the evaluation will take place in 2015.
In light of the aforementioned, the people of Bonaire are adamantly of the opinion that they have not exercised their right to self-determination. And as such have denied said right, as they have not freely determined their political status or the chance to decide how to pursue their own economic, social and cultural development. According to the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1541 (XV), any change of status should “be the freely expressed wishes of the territory’s people acting with full knowledge of the change of their status…”
According to Resolution 1541 of the United Nations every change in the status shall be the result of “freely expressed wishes of the territories peoples acting with full knowledge of the change of their status...”
By this we are requesting, in the name of all attached signees - and all others who could not co-sign for one or other reasons and also holds the same right to self-determination-  for the local government of the Public Entity of Bonaire to put all arrangements in place for the free exercise of the right to self-determination, through a referendum, so that the people of Bonaire can decide democratically their own future in accordance with International Standards of Human Rights, the principles of International Law and the Charter of the United Nations.

Integration with full political rights, independence, and free association are the three legitimate alternatives which constitute the internationally recognized options of political equality under the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1541 (XV). As such, the aforementioned options should be among the choices for the people of Bonaire to vote upon during a constitutional referendum.

We consider it the duty of our government to provide the necessary information to its people prior to the constitutional referendum, so that the population is aware of the ramifications of the status options contained in Resolution 1541, and so that the population would be able to make an informed choice between the various status options.

We invite you, that have Bonaire's interest at heart, in the name of all the signees,to do everything within your possibilities to honour  this request and organize as soon as possible a referendum for the People of Bonaire.

Awaiting a positive reaction from you, I remain,


James Finies, president and coordinator Foundation “Nos Ke Boneiru Bek”
Kaya Mamore 3
Email: jamesfinies@gmail.com or info@noskierboneirubek.com

 Attached:     Copy list signatures petition referendum Bonaire 2013
                      Copy list signatures petition referendum via internet
                      Copy list individual reasons of signees via internet
                             why a referendum

Press release:


Kralendijk—Djaluna último 14 òktober 2013, Fundashon Nos Ke Boneiru Bek a hasi entrega na gezaghèber sra. Emerencia di firma nan kolekta den último lunanan pa sostené e petishon na nos gobièrnu i gobernantenan pa organisá un referèndem konstitushonal pa e pueblo Boneriano.

T’asina ku sr. Finies a duna splikashon na gezaghèber di Boneiru dr. Lydia Emerencia ku segun e organisashon e struktura ku Boneiru ta den aktualmente no ta loke ku pueblo di Boneiru a skohe pe, p’esei nan a sali na fabor di pueblo di Boneiru pa haña Boneiru bèk. Komo ku pueblo di Boneiru e keda mal informá pa polítikonan di turno.

A logra akumulá mas ku 3500 firmante ku ta di opinion ku mester bini un kambio mas rápido posibel mirando e direkshon i kiko a resultá despues di 10-10-10, kaminda e pueblo di Boneiru a hañ’é konfrontá ku a traspasá su teritorio, e isla di Boneiru i tambe su poder i derecho demokrátiko di sigui desaroyá su propio gobernashon i goberná su mes na Hulanda. Segun Finies, e traspaso i akto aki 10-10-10 ta ilegal pa motibu ku no tabatin outorisashon di e pueblo Boneriano, ku ta e úniko ku por disidí esaki i no a hasi´é te asina leu.

Pa nos di “Nos Ke Boneiru Bèk” e fecha di 10-10-13 tambe ta marka final na e trayektoria di buska firma pa sostené un petishon popular pa un referèndem pa asina korigí i kambia loke a bai robes i alabes kuminsá un etapa nobo. E “Revolushon Boneriano”, un etapa kaminda ku nos lo ta bek riba e ruta di liberashon i pa rekobrá nos teritorio i derecho di por goberná nos mes.

Ku e sosten di parti di firmantenan ku ta apoyá e lucha sagrado aki i tambe esnan ku no a òf no por a firma pa un òf otro motibu pero ku tambe ta mantené e mesun derecho pa nos rekobrá nos Boneiru i nos propio gobernashon bèk. Segun e fundashon di “ Nos ke nos Boneiru bèk”, nos ta di opinion ku nos tin e derecho di eksigí f demanda nos derecho ku inhustamente òf ilegalmente, a keda kita o sekuestrá for di nos pueblo Boneriano. Awor nos ta konvensí ku e mensahe kla aki lo yega i komprendé dor di nos gobernantenan i ku lo rekonsiderá e posishon aktual i rekonsiliá i uni e pueblo por lo mínimo ku sigur lo tene debido kuenta  i respetá e pueblo su derechonan i deseonan.

Un gradisimentu ta bai na tur persona ku a yuda ku e proseso aktivamente pa buska sosten i tambe un pabien na firmantenan tur ku gran determinashon i kurashi a mustra ku nos tin suidadanonan, Bonerianonan balente i tambe hendenan di tur parti ku ta sostené i ta stima Boneiru i su pueblo.

Fundashon “Nos Ke Boneiru Bek”


U.N. General Assembly Fourth Committee adopts 2013 decolonisation resolutions

The administering powers which administer most of the remaining territories worldwide, continue their pattern of voting against U.N. decolonisation resolutions. 


General Assembly

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
Sixty-eighth General Assembly
Fourth Committee
8th Meeting (AM)


Reiterating its conviction of the need for the eradication of colonialism, the Fourth Committee today concluded its annual consideration of the question of decolonization, and forwarded 11 draft resolutions to the General Assembly, six of them approved without a vote.

Continuing its tradition, the Committee approved by consensus its omnibus draft resolution on Questions of American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guam, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands and the United States Virgin Islands.

That text would have the General Assembly reaffirm that, in the process of decolonization, there was no alternative to the principle of self-determination, which was also a fundamental human right, as recognized under the relevant human rights conventions. 

In a series of provisions concerning the administering Powers of the 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories on the United Nations list, the Assembly would reaffirm those Governments’ responsibility to promote the Territories’ economic and social development and take all measures necessary to protect their environments.  The Assembly would call on the administering Powers to participate in and cooperate fully with the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization.

Speaking in explanation of position after the text’s approval, the question was raised about the application of principles other than that of self-determination to the Territories.  The representative of Spain said that although the delegation had joined the consensus on the draft because it supported the right to free self-determination, the principle of territorial integrity should also be applied in some cases, such as in that of Gibraltar.

Also speaking on that draft was Argentina’s representative, who expressed support for the right of self-determination in the Territories as outlined in the omnibus draft resolution, but, drawing attention to General Assembly resolution 1514 (1960), said that the principle of self-determination was only one of two guiding tenets applicable to Non-Self-Governing Territories.  The question of the Malvinas* was a “special and particular” case, whereby the territorial integrity principle, as established by numerous General Assembly resolutions, was also to be considered.

Also speaking in explanation after passage of the draft was the representative of the United Kingdom, called the approach of the Decolonization Committee “outdated” because it failed to take into account how the relationship between the United Kingdom and its Overseas Territories had modernized.  Also, he added, the United Kingdom did not accept the assertion that the people of Gibraltar did not have the right to self-determination.

The Committee also approved without a vote a draft resolution on French Polynesia — reinstated just this year on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.  By its terms, the General Assembly would reaffirm the inalienable right of the people of French Polynesia to self-determination and also recognize the significant health and environmental impacts of nuclear testing conducted by the administering Power in the Territory over a 31-year period.

Other draft resolutions approved without a vote today included three more on specific territories — New Caledonia, Tokelau, and Western Sahara, as well as a fourth draft text on study and training facilities for inhabitants of Non-Self-Governing Territories.  A draft decision on Gibraltar would be considered at a later date.

Requiring a recorded vote was a draft resolution on information from Non-Self-Governing Territories, which would stress the importance of timely transmission of adequate information relating to the Territories by the administering Powers.  A decision was taken to forward it to the General Assembly, by a vote of 149 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (Israel, Rwanda, United Kingdom, United States).

By a recorded vote of 107 in favour to none against, with 51 abstentions, the Committee approved a draft resolution on the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations.  
A text on dissemination of information on decolonization was approved by a recorded vote of 156 in favour to 3 against ( Israel, United Kingdom, United States) with no abstentions.

Also requiring recorded votes were resolutions on economic and other activities affecting the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories — 153 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 2 abstentions (Rwanda, United Kingdom);

and on the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples158 in favour to 3 against (Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with no abstentions.

Prior to action, the Committee also heard from several delegates as its general debate on decolonization concluded.  Broadly speaking, the representative of Algeria said that the “pretexts and red herrings” used by the occupying Powers must be denied.  Concerning Western Sahara, it was pointless to hide the national aspirations of the Saharan people.  The United Nations, he added, must engage them in a genuine exercise of self-determination.

The representative of Morocco stated that a tiny minority persisted in seeing the Western Sahara issue through its own fantasies rather than through historic facts.  Morocco’s autonomy initiative represented a historic compromise with “a win-win focus” and was still on the negotiating table. 

Also participating in the discussion were representatives of South Africa, Viet Nam, and Palau.

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of Spain, United Kingdom, Argentina, India, and Pakistan.

The representative of the European Union delivered a general statement ahead of action on the Western Sahara text.