Ambassador Huntley Opens Pacific Regional Seminar on Decolonization
May 14th, 2002 - St. Lucia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Earl Stephen Huntley has opened a UN regional seminar on decolonization taking place in Fiji, with a call for administering powers to stop seeing the UN’s Committee of 24 on decolonization, as a body to be obstructed. The Pacific Regional Seminar, which runs from 14 – 16 May in Nadi, Fiji, is organized by the UN’s Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (known as the Committee of 24), of which Ambassador Huntley is Chairman. It is being attended by representatives of the non-self governing territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean as well as members of the Committee of 24, including some of the administering powers like the United Kingdom and France.
In his remarks to open the Seminar, Ambassador Huntley reminded the administering powers that, like Special Committee members, they were all members of the same international organization – the United Nations – and so it was incumbent on them to make their organization successful by fully supporting and participating in the Committee's activities. “As we enter this new age,” he said, “it is time to change attitudes and to stop seeing the Committee as a foe.” Ambassador Huntley also appealed to the representatives of the non-self-governing territories to view the Committee of 24 as their friend, “prepared to and committed to work with you and on your behalf to attain the rights that are indisputably yours.”
The Pacific Regional Seminar is part of a Plan of Action contained in a UN resolution establishing a Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism. The Plan calls for the holding of regional seminars alternately in the Caribbean and the Pacific regions as well as at the United Nations Headquarters. The current Pacific Regional Seminar is the second in the series of decolonization seminars that have been planned for the Second Decade. The first was held in Cuba last year.
Meanwhile it has been announced that, following the conclusion of the Pacific Regional Seminar, Ambassador Huntley will represent the Committee of 24 at the Independence celebrations of East Timor on the 19-20th May. The Committee had been involved with East Timor for years prior to the events two years ago that finally led to independence from Indonesia. Last month the UN General Assembly approved a Special Committee resolution delisting East Timor as a non-self governing territory.
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