Tuesday, March 15, 2005

UN Decolonisation Committee to meet

* Visit of C24 to Bermuda

The Special Committee on Decolonisation the C24, has made arrangements for an upcoming United Nations special mission to assist the people of Bermuda in making an informed choice regarding their future status. It also made plans for a regional seminar in the Caribbean in May.

Representatives of all elected governments of Non-Self-Governing Territories including Gibraltar will be invited. Also invited to take part in the event would be Member States, administering Powers, specialised agencies and other organisations within the United Nations, as well as some regional organisations.

The full session of the Committee of 24 takes place in early June and is addressed by Peter Caruana, the Chief Minister, and Joe Bossano, the Opposition leader. Gibraltar occasionally attends the seminars.

The Committee’s Chairman, Julian Hunte of Saint Lucia, emphasised the special nature of the Bermuda mission; “perhaps the first one of its kind to a Non-Self-Governing Territory”.

Led by the Special Committee, the mission would examine political, economic and social developments in the Territory, listen to various sectors of society and familiarise the members of the Bermuda Independence Commission and the public at large with legitimate political options and the role of the United Nations system in the process of self-determination.

“The mission is not going to close a deal on independence, or commit the United Nations, or represent the Secretary-General”, he stressed. It was going to provide information, inform the population and evaluate the situation. An envisioned interactive approach should maximise the time spent with the people of Bermuda, with the aim of assisting them, as they made an important step towards a full measure of self-government.

He also informed the Committee that the administering power of Bermuda, the United Kingdom, had been very helpful in organising meetings between the Bermuda Independence Commission and the Special Committee. The mission would be fully operational, as soon as the formal invitation from the administering Power was received.

The C24 also decided that the Caribbean Regional Seminar on the Implementation of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism would be held in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines from 17 to 19 May 2005. The Seminar would carry out a mid-term review of the progress achieved in the implementation of the plan of action of the Decade and define priorities for follow-up and action in the remaining years of the Decade. As in the past, the Special Committee would also celebrate the Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories at the Seminar.

Meanwhile the Fourth Committee has resolved to request the C24 to continue to examine possibilities to streamline its work and to present concrete proposals for further consideration by the Fourth Committee.

Committee Chairman Kyaw Tint Swe (Myanmar) said that, once adopted by the Assembly, the recommendations in the non-paper would serve to guide the work of the Committee in future sessions. He thanked all members for their cooperative spirit in reaching consensus.

The next meeting of the Fourth Committee will be announced.

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