Voice of colonial peoples must be heard, affirms UN

New York - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres affirmed Thursday in New York that "the voice of the peoples of non-self-governing territories must be heard", reiterating their inalienable right to self-determination.

"To achieve decolonization, the voice of the peoples of the territories (non-autonomous) must be heard," said the UN chief at the opening of the 2019 session of the Special Committee on Decolonization, known as the Committee of 24, adding that the cooperation of all parties concerned, including the administering Powers, was essential to achieve this goal.

"Decolonization is one of the most important chapters in the history of the Organization that has helped to increase the number of UN member states from 51 to 193 today" he said.

Over the years, this process has resulted in the removal of most territories from the list. "But this story is still being written," said the UN chief. "There are still 17 non-self-governing territories", which remain to be decolonized, he added, by reiterating the right of colonial peoples to freely choose their political status.

"Let us uphold our duty to assist all the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories in bringing their decolonization process to a successful conclusion, according to their choice," Guterres insisted.

The UN Secretary-General estimated that “the successes achieved by the United Nations in decolonization over the past decades can be a source of inspiration today.”

Guterres commended the Special Committee for its efforts to support the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories in realizing their right to self-determination.

Western Sahara is the last colony in African, where Morocco has been illegally occupying parts the Sahrawi Republic since 1975. (SPS)