- United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories
The United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories is a list of countries that, according to the United Nations, are non-decolonized. The list was initially prepared in 1946 pursuant to Chapter XI of the United Nations Charter, and has been updated by the General Assembly on recommendation of the Special Committee on Decolonization and its predecessors. Only permanently inhabited territories are considered for inclusion in this list, excluding many remote atolls (e.g., Clipperton Island and Kingman Reef) and Southern Ocean territories (e.g., French Southern and Antarctic Lands and Heard Island and McDonald Islands). The list currently contains 16 entries.
- 1 History
- 2 Criticism
- 3 Current entries
- 4 Former entries
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The United Nations Charter contains a Declaration Concerning Non-Self-Governing Territories. In Article 73e of the Charter, member States agree to report to the United Nations annually on the development of non-self-governing territories under their control. The initial List of Non-Self-Governing Territories was created by compiling lists of dependent territories submitted by the administering States themselves. In several instances, administering States were allowed to remove dependent territories from the list, either unilaterally (as in the case of many French overseas departments and territories), or by vote of the General Assembly (as in the cases of Puerto Rico, Greenland, the Netherlands Antilles, and Suriname).
The list draws its origins from the period of colonialism and the Charter's concept of non-self-governing territories. As an increasing number of formerly colonized countries became UN members, the General Assembly increasingly asserted its authority to place additional territories on the List and repeatedly declared that only the General Assembly had the authority to authorize a territory's being removed from the list upon attainment of any status other than full independence. For example, when Portugal joined the United Nations, it contended that it controlled no non-self-governing territories (because areas such as Angola and Mozambique were purported to be an integral part of the Portuguese state), but the General Assembly rejected this position. Similarly, Western Sahara was added in 1963 when it was a Spanish colony. The same can be said about the situation of Namibia (removed upon its independence in 1990), which was seen, due to its former status as a mandate territory, as a vestige of German colonial legacy in Africa. A set of criteria for determining whether a territory is to be considered "non-self-governing" was established in General Assembly Resolution 1541 (XV) of 1960.
Also in 1960, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 1514 (XV), promulgating the "Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples", which declared that all remaining non-self-governing territories and trust territories were entitled to self-determination and independence. The following year, the General Assembly established the Special Committee on the Situation with Regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (sometimes referred to as the Special Committee on Decolonization, or the "Committee of 24" because for much of its history the committee was composed of 24 members), which reviews the situation in non-self-governing territories each year and reports to the General Assembly.
The list remains controversial for various reasons.
Choosing to remain a territory
One reason for the remaining controversy is the fact that the list includes many dependencies that have democratically chosen to maintain their territorial status, and rejected independence (or in some cases the territory periodically organizes referenda, as in the United States Virgin Islands, but there is insufficient voter participation). Other non-self-determining areas are excluded.
Another example is Tokelau. In response to attempts at decolonizing Tokelau, New Zealand journalist Michael Field wrote in 2004: "The UN [...] is anxious to rid the world of the last remaining vestiges of colonialism by the end of the decade. It has a list of 16 territories around the world, virtually none of which wants to be independent to any degree". Tokelau is seen by some as a case in point. Field further notes that Patuki Isaako, who was head of Tokelau's government at the time of a UN seminar on decolonization in 2004, informed the United Nations that his country had no wish to be decolonized, and that Tokelauans had opposed the idea of decolonization ever since the first visit by UN officials in 1976. In 2006, a UN-supervised referendum on decolonization was held in Tokelau, where voters rejected the offer of self-government. When the first referendum failed, a second was held in 2007, and Tokelauans rejected it again. This led New Zealand politician and former diplomat John Hayes, on behalf of the National Party, to state that "Tokelau did the right thing to resist pressure from [the New Zealand government] and the United Nations to pursue self-government". The United Nations most likely supported there being a referendum because clear majorities of Tokelauans support self-government in association with New Zealand. This was reinforced by the results of the referendum, which show that over 60% (60.07% in the first referendum, and 64.40% in the second) voted for self-government. However, the terms of the referendum required a two-thirds majority to vote in favor of self-government. On the second occasion, the proposition failed by just 16 votes. In May 2008, the United Nations' Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged colonial powers "to complete the decolonization process in every one of the remaining 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories". This led the New Zealand Herald to comment that the United Nations was "apparently frustrated by two failed attempts to get Tokelau to vote for independence from New Zealand".
Gibraltar is another prime example of resident desires to remain with the status quo. Gibraltar, a largely self-governing British territory on the tip of the Iberian Peninsula whose territory is claimed by Spain, has twice held referenda to resolve their status. In the first referendum, held in 1967, the choices in the ballot were either to retain their current status or to become part of Spain. The status quo was favoured by 12,138 votes to 44. In the second referendum, held in 2002, a proposal for a joint Anglo-Spanish administration of the territory was proposed, and was voted down by 17,900 votes to 187 - the "no" vote accounting for more than 85% of Gibraltar's entire voting population.
Population (or lack thereof) is also an issue regarding at least one territory included on the list: the British colony Pitcairn Islands, with a total population of 48 (many of whom are related), has simply too small a population base (and habitable landmass for expansion), to be realistically viable as an independent state.
Completely autonomous dependencies
Another criticism is that a number of the listed territories, such as Bermuda, consider themselves completely autonomous and self-governing, with the "administering power" retaining limited oversight over matters such as defence and diplomacy. In past years, there were ongoing disputes between some administering powers and the Decolonization Committee over whether territories such as pre-independence Brunei and the West Indies Associated States should still be considered "non-self-governing," particularly in instances where the administering country was prepared to grant full independence whenever the territory requested it. These disputes became redundant as those territories eventually received full independence.
Removed under other circumstances
Territories that have achieved a status described by the administering countries ("the colonizing power") as internally self-governing — such as Puerto Rico, the Netherlands Antilles, and the Cook Islands — have been removed from the list by vote of the General Assembly, often under pressure of the colonizing power or similar circumstances. In 1972, for example, Hong Kong (then administered by the United Kingdom) and Macau (then administered by Portugal) were removed from the list at the request of the People's Republic of China, which had just been recognized as holding China's seat at the United Nations.
Some territories that have been annexed and incorporated into the legal framework of the controlling state (such as the overseas departments of France) are considered by the UN to have been decolonized, since they then no longer constitute "non-self-governing" entities; their populations are assumed to have agreed to merge with the former parent state. However, in 1961, the General Assembly voted to end this treatment for the then-"overseas provinces" of Portugal such as Angola and Mozambique, which were active foci of United Nations attention until they attained independence in the mid-1970s.
On December 2, 1986, New Caledonia, then an overseas territory, was reinstated on the list of non-self-governing territories, an action that France protested. New Caledonia is the only French-administered territory now on the list; it has enjoyed the status of a collectivité sui generis, or a one-of-a-kind community, since 1999. Under the 1998 Nouméa Accord, its Territorial Congress has the right to call for a referendum on independence after 2014.
List not complete
Another point of controversy is the criteria set down in 1960 by General Assembly Resolution 1541 (XV), 4 Principle 12 of the Annex, which only focused on colonies of the Western World, namely Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States. This list of administering states wasn't expanded afterwards.
Nevertheless some of the 111 members who joined the UN after 1960 gained independence from countries not covered by Resolution 1541 and were themselves not classified as "Non-Self-Governing Territories" by the UN. Of these that joined the UN between 1960 and 2008, 11 were independent before 1960 and 71 were included on the list (some as a group). Out of the other 29, seven (mostly Arab) were colonies or protectorates of the "Western" countries, six were part of Yugoslavia, two were part of Czechoslovakia, 12 were part of the Soviet Union (Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus already had UN seats before the dissolution of the USSR) and one each was part of Ethiopia and Pakistan.
^a The Spanish colony of the Spanish Sahara up to 1976, 85% of the territory of Western Sahara is now occupied and administered by Morocco. The rest of the territory is under the control of the Polisario Front and administered by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. The UN however still considers Spain as administrating country of the whole territory, awaiting the outcome of the ongoing Manhasset negotiations and resulting election to be overseen by the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara.
The following Territories were once listed by the General Assembly as Non-Self-Governing. Dates show the year of independence or other change in a Territory's status that resulted in its removal from the list
Removed due to a status other than independence
Continent Name Status Current status Administering state Population Area / km2 Area / mi2 Year of removal See also Africa Ifni Change in Status (Integrated into Morocco) Tiznit Province, Souss-Massa-Draâ region, Morocco Spain 51,517 1,502 580 1969 Politics of Morocco Africa São João Batista de Ajuda Change in Status (Integrated into Benin) Ouidah commune, Atlantique department, Benin Portugal 1961 Politics of Benin North America Greenland Change in Status Gained home rule, Country within the Kingdom of Denmark Denmark 57,564 2,166,086 836,330.5 1954 Politics of Greenland Asia French Establishments in India Change in Status (Annexed by India) Puducherry union territory and part of West Bengal state of India France 973,829 492 190.0 1947 Pondicherry Legislative Assembly Asia Goa and Dependencies Change in Status (Annexed by India) Goa state and Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu union territories of India Portugal 1961 Asia Hong Kong Change in Status (Removed from the list on request of the People's Republic of China) Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the PRC United Kingdom 7,018,636 1,092 421.6 1972 Politics of Hong Kong Asia Macau and dependencies Change in Status (Removed from the list on request of the People's Republic of China) Macao Special Administrative Region of the PRC Portugal 545,674 28.2 10.89 1972 Politics of Macau North America Saint Pierre and Miquelon Change in Status Overseas collectivity of France France 7,044 242 93.4 1947 Politics of Saint Pierre and Miquelon North America Guadeloupe and Dependencies Change in Status Overseas department of Guadeloupe and overseas collectivities of Saint-Barthelemy and Saint-Martin, France France 408,000 1,628 628.6 1947 Politics of Guadeloupe North America Martinique Change in Status Overseas department of France France 401,000 1,128 435.5 1947 Politics of Martinique North/South America Netherlands Antilles Change in Status Aruba, Curaçao and Sint-Maarten are constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the other remaining islands are special municipalities of the Netherlands. Netherlands 225,369 960 371 1951 Politics of the Netherlands Antilles North America Puerto Rico Change in Status Gained self-rule, Unincorporated organized commonwealth of the United States United States 3,958,128 8,870 3,420 1952 Political status of Puerto Rico Asia Cocos (Keeling) Islands Change in Status Gained self-rule, External territory of Australia Australia 596 14 5.4 1984 Shire of Cocos Africa Réunion Change in Status Overseas department of France France 793,000 2,512 969.9 1947 Politics of Réunion North America Alaska Change in Status U.S. state, United States of America United States 683,478 1,700,130. 656,424 1959 Legal status of Alaska North America Panama Canal Zone Change in Status (Removed from the list on request of Panama) Part of Colón and Panama provinces of Panama United States 1947 Politics of Panama Oceania Cook Islands Change in Status Gained self-rule, Free association with New Zealand New Zealand 12,271 236.7 93.39 1965 Politics of the Cook Islands Oceania French Establishments in Oceania Change in Status French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna overseas collectivities of France France 298,256 4,441 1,714.7 1947 Politics of French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna Oceania Hawaii Change in Status Became United States state United States 1,283,388 28,311 10,930.9 1959 Legal status of Hawaii Oceania Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands Change in Status Marshall Islands United States 1990 Change in Status Federated States of Micronesia United States 1990 Change in Status Northern Mariana Islands United States 1990 Change in Status Palau (separated from Federated States of Micronesia) United States 1994 Oceania New Caledonia and Dependencies Change in Status Sui Generis Collectivity of France
General Assembly determined that New Caledonia was a Non-Self-Governing Territory.
France 224,824 19,060 7,359 1947
Politics of New Caledonia Oceania Niue Island Change in Status Free association with New Zealand New Zealand 1,444 260 100.4 1974 Politics of Niue Asia Colony of Sarawak Change in Status (Joined Malaya to form Malaysia) Malaysian state of Sarawak United Kingdom 124,450 48,050 1963 Asia North Borneo Change in Status (Joined Malaya to form Malaysia) Malaysian state of Sabah United Kingdom 285,000 76,115 29,388 1963 South America French Guiana Change in Status Overseas department of France, French Republic France 209,000 83,534 32,253 1947 Politics of French Guiana
Territories that joined another state
Continent Non-Self-Governing Territory Status Current status Administering state Population Area / km2 Area / mi2 Year of removal See also Africa Cameroons Trust Territory Northern Cameroons joined with Nigeria
Southern Cameroons joined with Cameroon
Adamawa and Taraba states of Nigeria, Northwest and Southwest provinces of Cameroon United Kingdom 1961 Politics of Nigeria
Politics of Cameroon
Africa British Togoland Trust Territory Joined British Gold Coast to form Ghana Volta, Northern and Upper East Region of Ghana United Kingdom 1957 Foreign relations of Ghana Asia Netherlands New Guinea Joined with Indonesia as Irian Jaya Papua and West Papua provinces of Indonesia Netherlands 420,540 162,371 1963 Act of Free Choice
Territories that have become independent
- Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
- List of active autonomist and secessionist movements
- List of dependent territories
- List of sovereign states
- List of states with limited recognition
- List of national liberation movements recognized by intergovernmental organizations
- ^ United Nations Trusteeship Council
- ^ "The Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples". United Nations Treaty Collection. http://untreaty.un.org/cod/avl/ha/dicc/dicc.html. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- ^ "Tokelau wonders 'What have we done wrong?'", Michael Field, AFP, June 2, 2004
- ^ "Congratulations Tokelau", National Party press release, October 26, 2007
- ^ "Colonialism has no place in today's world," says Secretary General in message to Decolonization Seminar in Indonesia", United Nations press release, May 14, 2008
- ^ "Tokelau decolonization high on agenda", New Zealand Herald, May 17, 2008
- ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2400673.stm
- ^ General Assembly Resolution 1541 (XV) adopted on the reports of the Sixth Committee
- ^ a b c Non-Self-Governing Territories listed by General Assembly of the United Nations
- ^ Nomenclature of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
- ^ UN General Assembly Resolution 34/37 and UN General Assembly Resolution 35/19
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories (1945-2002) listed by General Assembly of the United Nations
- ^ Infobox image in "History" section of "About Greenland", English version of the official country government website. Accessed online 2008-09-28, Sunday.
- ^ http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2009/06/greenland-takes-over-courts-police.php
- ^ a b c See: The UK Statute Law Database: the Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom Malaysia Act 1963
- ^ a b c d Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories (1945-1999) listed by General Assembly of the United Nations.
- ^ 1960 estimate
- ^ 1967 estimate
- ^ 1963 estimate, see: Northern Rhodesia#Demographics
- ^ 1963 estimate
- ^ 1978 estimate
- ^ 1980 estimate, see: British Honduras#Demographics
- ^ 1974 estimate, see: Indonesian occupation of East Timor#Number of deaths
- ^ 1976 estimate
- United Nations General Assembly Resolutions
- United Nations and Decolonization homepage
- United Nations Trusteeship Council
- United Nations International Trusteeship System
- Non-Self-Governing Territories (1945-2002) listed by United Nations
- Trust Territories that have achieved self-determination listed by United Nations
- United Nations and Decolonization - Committee of 24 - Resumed session, Monday, 13 June 2011
United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories United Kingdom United States France Spain / Morocco New Zealand Category · Portal United Nations list of Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories (The United Nations Trusteeship Agreements or were listed by the General Assembly official document as Non-Self-Governing
her was independence or other change in a Territory's status, after which information was no longer submitted to the United Nations.)
Australia Belgium Denmark FranceFrench Equatorial Africa · (Middle Congo) · (Ubangi Shari) · French Establishments in India · French Establishments in Oceania · French Guiana · French Somaliland · French West Africa · (French Guinea) · (French Sudan) · (Niger Colony) · Guadeloupe and Dependencies · Indo-China · Madagascar and Dependencies · Martinique · Morocco · New Caledonia and Dependencies · New Hebrides(Under Anglo French Condominium) · Réunion · St. Pierre and Miquelon · Tunisia · Cameroons Trust Territory · French Togoland Trust Territory Italy Netherlands New ZealandCook Islands · Niue Island · Western Samoa Trust Territory Portugal South Africa Spain United KingdomAden Colony and Protectorate · Bahamas · Barbados · Basutoland · Bechuanaland Protectorate · British Guiana · British Honduras · British Somaliland · Brunei · Cyprus · Fiji · Gambia · Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony · Gold Coast Colony and Protectorate · Hong Kong · Jamaica · Kenya · Leeward Islands(Antigua) · (St. Kitts- Nevis-Anguilla) · Malayan Union · Malta · Mauritius · Nigeria · North Borneo · Northern Rhodesia · Nyasaland · Sarawak · Seychelles · Sierra Leone · Singapore · Solomon Islands · Southern Rhodesia · Swaziland · Trinidad and Tobago · Uganda · Windward Islands (Dominica) · (Grenada) · (St. Lucia) · (St. Vincent) · Zanzibar · Cameroons · Togoland · Tanganyka Trust Territory United States Annotation: Change in Status • Joined • Independence
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