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 colonized. 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).1 The list contains 17 entries.23
- 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.4 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.
||The neutrality of this section is disputed. (December 2011)|
One reason for the remaining controversy is the stated argument, exposed primarily by the states mentioned as colonial, that the list includes some dependencies that, according to them, have democratically chosen to maintain their territorial status, and/or an insufficient percentage of the population voted for independence (or in some cases the territory organized a referendum, as in the United States Virgin Islands, but there was insufficient voter participation). Other non-self-determining areas are excluded.
Gibraltar is a 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 a referendum to resolve its 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.5 Neither of the referendums, however, gained recognition from the UN. Moreover, the 1967 referendum was declared to be in contravention of previous UN resolutions.6
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.
Tokelau is seen as an example by some people but not by others. It is an issue which divides political opinion in New Zealand.7 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".8 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 60% of voters supported the offer of self-government. However, the terms of the referendum required a two-thirds majority to vote in favor of self-government. When the first referendum failed, a second was held in 2007, and 64% of Tokelauans supported it again. On the second occasion, the proposition failed by just 16 votes.
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".9
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. 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".10 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".11
Another criticism is that a number of the listed territories, such as Bermuda and Gibraltar, consider themselves completely autonomous and self-governing, with the "administering power" retaining limited oversight over matters such as defence and diplomacy.citation needed 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.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (February 2013)|
Territories that have achieved a status described by the administering countries 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,citation needed often under pressure of the administering countries. 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.12
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. Within France it has had 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. French Polynesia was also reinstated on the list on 17 May 2013.13
Also controversial are the criteria set down in 1960 to 1961 by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV),14 United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1541 (XV), Principle 12 of the Annex,15 and United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1654 (XVI)16 which only focused on colonies of the Western world, namely Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This list of administering states was not expanded afterwards.17
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). Twenty new UN countries resulted from breakup of Second World states: six were part of Yugoslavia, two were part of Czechoslovakia, and 12 were part of the Soviet Union (Ukraine and Belarus already had UN seats before the dissolution of the USSR, whose seat was reused by the Russian Federation without acceding anew). Out of the other nine, seven (mostly Arab) were colonies or protectorates of the "Western" countries, and one each was a non-self-governing 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,19 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.
^b On 18 May 2013, the United Nations General Assembly voted to place French Polynesia back on the UN list of territories that should be decolonized.20
|Continent||Name21||Status21||Current status||Administering state21||Population||Area / km2||Area / mi2||Year of removal21||See also|
|Africa||Ifni||Change in Status (Integrated into Morocco)||Tiznit Province, Souss-Massa-Drâa 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 Denmark2223||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||Puducherry Legislative Assembly|
|Asia||State of India (commonly known as 'Portuguese India')||Change in Status (Annexed by India)||The Indian state of Goa and union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu||Portugal||1961|
|Asia||Hong Kong||Change in Status (Removed from the list on request of China)12||Hong Kong (a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China) (since 1 July 1997)||United Kingdom||7,018,636||1,092||421.6||1972||Politics of Hong Kong|
|Asia||Macao||Change in Status (Removed from the list on request of China)12||Macao (a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China) (since 20 December 1999)||Portugal||545,674||28.2||10.89||1972||Politics of Macao|
|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||Became an 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||A state of the 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)citation needed||Part of Colón and Panamá 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||A state of the United States of America||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, an independent state in free association with the United States||United States||68,000||180||70||1990|
|Change in Status||Federated States of Micronesia, an independent state in free association with the United States||United States||111,000||702||271||1990|
|Change in Status||Northern Mariana Islands, an Unincorporated organized commonwealth of the United States||United States||53,883||168||68.3||1990|
|Change in Status||Palau, an independent state in free association with the United States||United States||20,956||459||177||1994||Politics of Palau|
|Oceania||New Caledonia and Dependencies||Change in Status||Special Collectivity of France||France||224,824||19,060||7,359||1947a||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||Sarawak||Change in Status (Joined Malaya to form Malaysia)2425||Malaysian state of Sarawak||United Kingdom||124,450||48,050||1963|
|Asia||North Borneo||Change in Status (Joined Malaya to form Malaysia)2425||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|
|Continent||Non-Self-Governing Territory21||Status21||Current status||Administering state||Population||Area / km2||Area / mi2||Year of removal21||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||Anexed by Indonesia as Irian Jaya||Papua and West Papua provinces of Indonesia||Netherlands||420,540||162,371||1963||Act of Free Choice|
- United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV)
- United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1541 (XV)
- United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1654 (XVI)
- 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
- Non-Self-Governing Territories listed by General Assembly of the United Nations
- "The Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples". United Nations Treaty Collection. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- "Q&A: Gibraltar's referendum". BBC News. 8 November 2002. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- "Resolution 2353". UN. 19 December 1967. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
- see http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/election-2011/policies/7
- "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 decolonisation high on agenda". The New Zealand Herald. NZPA. 17 May 2008. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- Liu, Xiaomei; Bin, Han. "The Basic Laws of HK and Macao SARs aren’t Subnational Constitutions in China". Institute of Law, China. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
- General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) adopted by United Nations General Assembly
- General Assembly Resolution 1541 (XV) adopted by United Nations General Assembly on the reports of the Sixth Committee
- General Assembly Resolution 1654 (XVI) adopted by United Nations General Assembly
- United Nations Trusteeship Agreements or were listed by the General Assembly as Non-Self-Governing
- Nomenclature of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
- UN General Assembly Resolution 34/37 and UN General Assembly Resolution 35/19
- General Assembly adds French Polynesia to UN decolonization list
- 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.
- See: The UK Statute Law Database: the Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom Malaysia Act 1963
- 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
- Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories listed by the United Nations General Assembly
- Trust Territories that have achieved self-determination listed by United Nations
- United Nations and Decolonization - Committee of 24 - Resumed session, Monday, 13 June 2011