International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories
The United Nations has designated May 25 to 31 as the “International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories.” This observance was established by the UN General Assembly on December 6, 1999. According to the UN Charter, a Non-Self-Governing Territory refers to a territory where its people have not yet achieved complete self-government.
The International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories holds significant importance in highlighting the ongoing struggles of these territories and promoting their right to self-determination. Here are some key aspects of its significance:
- Raising Awareness: The week serves as a crucial platform to raise global awareness about the existence and plight of Non-Self-Governing Territories. It sheds light on the historical and current challenges faced by these territories and their peoples, including limited political rights, economic exploitation, social inequality, and cultural marginalization.
- Advocating Self-Determination: The week underscores the fundamental principle of self-determination, which is enshrined in the UN Charter. It emphasizes that the people of Non-Self-Governing Territories have the right to freely determine their political status and pursue their own paths of development without external interference. By focusing on their aspirations for self-government, the week advocates for the fulfillment of this right.
- Mobilizing Support: The International Week of Solidarity mobilizes support and solidarity from the international community, governments, organizations, and individuals. It encourages stakeholders to actively engage in efforts to promote the decolonization process, provide assistance to these territories, and support their journey towards self-governance. This support can include political, diplomatic, economic, and humanitarian assistance.
- Promoting Dialogue and Cooperation: The observance of the week fosters dialogue and cooperation among various stakeholders, including governments, UN bodies, civil society organizations, and representatives from Non-Self-Governing Territories. It provides a platform for discussions on strategies, challenges, and best practices related to decolonization, self-determination, and sustainable development in these territories.
- Inspiring Action: The week serves as an inspiration for action, encouraging governments, international organizations, and civil society to take concrete steps towards resolving the issues faced by Non-Self-Governing Territories. It stimulates initiatives aimed at facilitating their political empowerment, socioeconomic development, and preservation of their cultural heritage.
- Tracking Progress: The International Week of Solidarity also offers an opportunity to review and assess progress made in the decolonization process. It allows for the monitoring of advancements, challenges, and setbacks in the realization of self-governance for Non-Self-Governing Territories, enabling stakeholders to identify areas that require further attention and support.
History of the week
The International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories is an annual observance held from May 25 to 31. It was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999 with the resolution A/RES/54/91. The purpose of the week is to raise awareness of the issue of decolonization and to express solidarity with the peoples of non-self-governing territories who are still struggling for self-determination.
The UN Charter defines a non-self-governing territory as a territory “whose people have not yet attained a full measure of self-government.” In 1946, the UN received information from 72 countries about the non-self-governing territories under their administration. Since then, many of these territories have achieved independence, but there are still 17 territories that remain on the UN list.
The International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories is an opportunity for the international community to reaffirm its commitment to the right to self-determination and to support the peoples of these territories in their struggle for freedom. During the week, UN Member States, civil society organizations, and individuals are encouraged to hold events and activities to raise awareness of the issue of decolonization.