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UN: Fr Polynesia excerpt from UN GA debate

May 20, 2013

http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2013/ga11374.doc.htm
17 May 2013
General Assembly

GA/11374
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
Sixty-seventh General AssemblyPlenary

82nd Meeting (AM)

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS TEXTS ON ITEMS RANGING FROM SELF-DETERMINATION TO PEACE IN SOUTH ATLANTIC; SUPPORTS EXTENSION OF IMPUNITY COMMISSION IN GUATEMALA
The General Assembly, working through its busy agenda, today adopted five resolutions and one decision on a wide range of items, including on the self-determination of French Polynesia and on peace and cooperation in the South Atlantic.

By the terms of the text on French Polynesia, tabled by Nauru, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, the Assembly requested the Government of France, as the administering Power, to intensify its dialogue with the Non-Self-Governing Territory to facilitate rapid progress towards a fair and effective self-determination process. The Assembly asked the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples ­ the Decolonization Committee ­ to consider that matter at its next session and to report to the Assembly at its sixty-eighth session.

Introducing the text, the representative of Solomon Islands said that French Polynesia was “historically” inscribed by the administering Power on the original United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. However, for decades, the Assembly had not been furnished with information on French Polynesia. Furthermore, a subsequent list published in 1963 curiously omitted it. He was concerned that the de facto removal of French Polynesia and New Caledonia from United Nations oversight had occurred without adoption of a General Assembly resolution.

Today’s draft resolution, adopted without a vote, was based on the principle that it was up to the Non-Self Governing Territory of French Polynesia to choose its future destiny, in a just and fair process, he said, adding that “the matter of decolonization remains an unfinished business of the United Nations”.

Speaking in explanation of position after action, the representative of the Netherlands was among some who disassociated themselves from consensus. He said that, although he supported the principle of the inalienable right to self-determination, the Assembly must hear from the people of French Polynesia before adopting a resolution that determined their future.

Background

The General Assembly met today to consider a range of draft texts.

The delegate of Solomon Islands, introducing a draft resolution on Self-determination of French Polynesia(document A/67/L.56/Rev.1), said that, historically, French Polynesia was inscribed by the administering Power on the original United Nations list, which, in line with obligations under the Charter’s Chapter XI, required the administering Power to provide the Assembly with information on developments towards a full measure of self-government in those territories. However, as of 1947, the Assembly was no longer furnished with information on French Polynesia. Furthermore, a subsequent list of non-governing territories published in 1963 curiously omitted that territory. He was concerned that the de facto removal of French Polynesia and New Caledonia from United Nations oversight had occurred without adoption of a General Assembly resolution.

Discussions on the current resolution had been “around the corridors of the United Nations for a while”, he went on. However, the administering Power, France, had delayed action because of its own national elections. While there was “no organic link” between the national elections of an administering Power and the exercise of the inalienable right to self-determination of the people of a territory, agreement to postpone consideration had been honoured in the interest of flexibility. Today’s draft resolution was based on the principle that it was up to the Non-Self Governing Territory of French Polynesia to choose its future destiny, in a just and fair process. The resolution also sent a simple message of peace and hope to the population. “The matter of decolonization remains an unfinished business of the United Nations,” he said.

The representative of the Secretariat explained certain financial implications of the text, following which the Assembly adopted it without a vote.

Speaking in the explanation of position after the adoption, the representative of the United Kingdom, disassociating herself from the consensus, regretted that the Decolonization Committee continued with its “outdated approach”. She said that it was not for the General Assembly to determine in any particular case that an obligation existed for a State to submit information under Article 73e of the Charter.

The representative of the Netherlands, also disassociating the delegation from consensus, said that, although he supported the principle of the inalienable right to self-determination, the Assembly must hear from the people of French Polynesia before adopting a resolution that determined their future.

The representative of Germany also took to the floor to say that he, too, disassociated himself from consensus.

The representative of the United States strongly affirmed the principle of self-determination as one of the fundamental values of the Organization. However, “the facts are clear”: the people of French Polynesia had made clear that they did not support that particular resolution ­ it ignored the autonomy and will of the people it claimed to represent. He disassociated himself from consensus.

The representative of Mexico, also recognizing the inalienable right of people to self-determination, believed that in that particular case, “we must guarantee the rights of all interested parties to be recognized”. Mexico preferred that the Assembly would have responded positively to the request of French Polynesia, whose authorities were taking power today, to postpone action. Mexico expressed reservations about the manner in which the resolution was being adopted.

The representative of Argentina considered that the United Nations Decolonization Committee was the appropriate forum to address the issue. The French Polynesian people could express their views via that means.

The representative of Indonesia said that today’s adoption was solely based on a specific historical context and should not be misinterpreted as precedence by other territories whose cases were pending with the Decolonization Committee. He encouraged the French Government to continue engaging in constructive dialogue with French Polynesia in a manner that would best serve the interests of the people of Polynesia.

Exercising his right of reply, the representative of Solomon Islands said he looked forward to seeing the administering Power, France, and French Polynesia continue cooperation within the appropriate body.

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