CASTRIES, Saint Lucia, 13 May — The 2022 Pacific Regional Seminar on Decolonization concluded today, with delegations reaching agreement on a set of recommendations and conclusions.
Thilmeeza Hussain (Maldives) delivered a statement on behalf of General Assembly President Abdullah Shahid, highlighting the record turnout at the Seminar as cause for optimism. While noting that decolonization must be guided by international law, including the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, she emphasized that much work remains unfinished, despite the progress made. The 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories, home to 2 million people, are yet to be decolonized, she pointed out.
The Special Committee has been given a clear mandate by the General Assembly to continue to examine the political, economic and social situation in the Non-Self-Governing Territories, she continued. “Let us ensure that this Fourth International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, as mandated by the General Assembly in 2020, finally honours the fact that all peoples have the right to self-determination in accordance with the resolution 1514 (XV).”
Earl Huntley, Senior Adviser to Saint Lucia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and a former Special Committee Chair, recalled that when he first presided over the Regional Seminar in 2002, there was hope in the air at the start of the Second International Decade on the Eradication of Colonialism. He recalled saying at that time: “We must not allow ourselves the declaration of a third or fourth decade to complete our task.”
However, “a fourth decade has found us still at the task”, he said, adding: “The number of delegates at this Seminar has increased dramatically, but the number of Non-Self-Governing Territories has not decreased.” The Special Committee must make every effort to fulfil its mandate and be the catalyst that pushes the process of decolonization along the path decreed by the United Nations, he emphasized.
Keisha Aniya McGuire (Grenada), Chair of the Special Committee, said the Regional Seminars provide an excellent opportunity to help the Special Committee make a realistic evaluation of the situation in each Territories and devise the means to promote the decolonization agenda on a case-by-case basis. The work remaining to be done must be anchored in concrete actions, she emphasized.
During the final session, participants adopted the Seminar’s procedural report (document PRS/2022/CRP.29), as orally revised, and a draft resolution expressing “profound gratitude” to the hosting Government and people of Saint Lucia. The Seminar’s Rapporteur presented both documents.
The Special Committee also agreed on the Seminar’s conclusions and recommendations, as orally amended, to note Indonesia’s offer to host the 2023 Regional Seminar. The Special Committee is expected formally to adopt the Seminar’s conclusions and recommendations during its substantive 2022 session in June.
Held under the auspices of the Special Committee on the Situation with Regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples on Decolonization, the 2022 Seminar’s theme is “Advancement of the Non-Self-Governing Territories through the coronavirus disease (COVID‑19) pandemic and beyond”. (For complete coverage of the Seminar, see Press Releases GA/COL/3355 of 11 May and GA/COL/3356 of 12 May).