New York (United States), October 3, 2023 (SPS) - The Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee) of the United Nations General Assembly began its work, where it will consider reports and hear petitioners regarding the territories subject to decolonization, including the Sahara Western.
The President of the 78th General Assembly, Mr. Denis Francis, referred to the wide range of topics within the scope of the Fourth Committee’s mandate and stressed the importance of active engagement with all relevant stakeholders, including regional organizations. He also noted that the work of the Fourth Committee is crucial to instilling confidence in the United Nations, especially in combating disinformation.
For her part, the Chair of the Fourth Committee, Ambassador Mathu Joyini, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, indicated that the decolonization agenda represents one of the most important achievements of the United Nations and one of its highest priorities.
While acknowledging the Special Committee's firm commitment to decolonization, she said that its work has not yet been complete, as 17 territories remain on the United Nations list, and called on all member states to redouble their efforts to make progress in the field of decolonization.
In his intervention before the Committee, the representative of Mexico renewed his country’s support for reaching a just and lasting solution to the conflict in Western Sahara in accordance with the relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, in a manner that respects the will of the Sahrawi people and their right to self-determination, stressing the importance of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). ) He also called for strengthening human rights monitoring in Western Sahara.
The representative of Cuba stressed that his country defends the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination on the basis of respect for the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter, international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, recalling that 60 years ago, the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization declared Western Sahara a territory subject to decolonization.
He also stressed that Cuba calls for a political solution that is acceptable to both parties and ensures that the people of Western Sahara exercise self-determination in accordance with United Nations Resolution 1514 (XV) regarding granting independence to colonial countries and peoples, adding that his country does not favor unilateral decisions that ignore the interests or rights of the Sahrawi people.
Finally, he stressed that the Sahrawi people need support from the international community and can always count on the solidarity of the Cuban people.
For his part, the representative of Timor-Leste stressed that the people of Western Sahara, the last colony in Africa, have the right to decide their future and that any proposed solution must pass through a free and fair referendum organized by the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), established by Security Council resolution 690 of April 29, 1991.
In this regard, he renewed the call to accelerate the process of decolonization in Western Sahara under the supervision of the United Nations through MINURSO, which will allow the people of Western Sahara to freely decide their future in accordance with the relevant General Assembly resolutions.
In addition, the representative of Timor-Leste once again urged the Moroccan occupying state to allow United Nations and Red Cross missions to visit the territory to help meet the humanitarian needs of the people of Western Sahara, reaffirming his country’s commitment to continue supporting the Sahrawi brothers.