Diplomatic Perspective on Developments in Independence and Autonomy Processes, and Colonial Situations
The complexity of international relations has been a realm where numerous countries and communities have struggled for their freedom and independence throughout history.
Following World War II, the provisions of Articles 73 and 74 of the United Nations (UN) Charter focused on the "Non-Self-Governing Territories," also known as "Colonies," in support of the processes of independence and autonomy for former colonial regions. These processes have played a significant role in the context of international diplomacy.
This article, from a diplomatic perspective, examines the developments in the processes of independence and autonomy, addressing colonial situations. The concept of "Non-Self-Governing Territories" mentioned in the UN Charter refers to territories where the populations are unable to exercise full self-governance or have not yet attained their independence. These provisions, aiming to encourage the processes of independence or autonomy for former colonies, provide an important framework in international relations.
The "Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples," adopted by the United Nations in 1960, aims to encourage the processes of gaining independence for countries and peoples under colonial rule. This document is overseen by the UN Special Committee 24, established to monitor the implementation of the declaration and support processes of independence or autonomy. The committee examines the transition processes between colonial powers and territories, with the goal of ensuring the right to self-governance.
The latest update occurred just three months ago, on May 10th. The "24-member Special Committee" identified 17 colonies in the 21st century, in the year 2023. These territories originate from the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. It is highlighted that these regions, yet to achieve independence or autonomy, are unable to exercise full self-governance. However, despite the British monarch's expression of apology, it is essential not to overlook the fact that the United Kingdom still possesses veto power in the UN Security Council and remains a leader in colonial administration. In this context, examples like the Falkland Islands emphasize the British government's readiness to engage in conflict to protect and defend colonies.
In conclusion, the diplomatic analysis of independence and autonomy processes unveils the dynamics in international relations by focusing on historical and contemporary colonial situations. This article offers a significant perspective to comprehend the role of the international community in these processes and how they have shaped the dynamics of international relations.
2. "Self-Governing Territories"
Articles 73 and 74 of the United Nations Charter focus on the geographies referred to as "Self-Governing Territories." In this context, these territories represent areas where their respective populations are unable to exercise complete self-administration or have not yet achieved the status of independence. These articles, particularly following World War II, aim to encourage the processes of independence and autonomy in former colonial territories. The term "Self-Governing Territories" emphasizes the right of the communities living in these areas to determine their own destiny and acquire the ability for self-administration. In this regard, these articles provide a framework to support the efforts of countries and regions striving towards independence and freedom.
In summary, Articles 73 and 74 of the United Nations Charter primarily aim to promote the right of former colonial territories and colonies to self-governance and the processes of achieving independence. This situation is confirmed by the previously determined list of territories subject to the operation approved by the United Nations Special Committee ("Special Committee 24") that examines the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.
3. "Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples"
The "Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples," adopted by the United Nations in 1960, fundamentally serves as a document aimed at encouraging countries and communities under colonial rule to achieve independence.
This declaration primarily focuses on the right of these countries and regions to self-governance, with the intention of bolstering efforts to break free from the shackles of colonialism. The United Nations Special Committee 24 ("Special Committee 24") was established to oversee the implementation of this declaration. This committee engages in examining the transition processes between colonial powers and territories under colonial rule, with the objective of supporting processes leading to independence or autonomy. The term "preliminary list of territories subject to the operation" represents the territories falling under the scrutiny and observation of this committee.
These territories encompass areas lacking the ability for self-governance or currently under colonial conditions, where the evaluation and oversight of processes related to independence or autonomy occur. This situation indicates the areas where the committee collects and analyzes data concerning relevant countries and regions. In conclusion, the United Nations Special Committee 24, dedicated to supervising the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, examines the processes of independence or autonomy within territories lacking self-governance or autonomy, and updates a list encompassing their status.
The most recent update occurred a mere three months ago, on May 10th. The "24-Person Special Committee" identified 17 colonies in the 21st century, in the year 2023:
• Three from the United States (United States Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam);
• Two from France (French Polynesia, New Caledonia);
• Ten from the United Kingdom (Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Montserrat, Saint Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands, Gibraltar, Pitcairn).
This update manifested as the "24-Person Special Committee" identifying the existence of these 17 colonies in 2023. These colonies originate from different countries: the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. Three colonies from the United States, two from France, and ten from the United Kingdom are still considered territories unable to self-govern or attain independence.
Despite the British monarch's apology for the colonial actions conducted by their predecessors in Africa and other global regions, it is imperative to bear in mind that the United Kingdom still wields the power of veto within the United Nations Security Council. This fact underscores their status as a leader of a state that still administers a colony, as recognized by the UN. Moreover, concerning the future of these colonies, instances exist where the government is prepared to engage in conflict and even sacrifice lives to protect them (one may recall the relatively recent Falkland War as an example).
As previously indicated, the United Nations Special Committee 24 was established to oversee the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. This committee operates with the intention of supporting processes leading to independence or autonomy, while ensuring the right of territories under colonial rule to self-governance is secured.
The phrase "latest update," as mentioned earlier, indicates the most recent update date of the United Nations Special Committee 24's examination of the state of implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. This date is set at May 10th. During this update process, the "24-Person Special Committee" evaluated territories unable to self-govern or undergoing processes towards independence, and compiled a list containing data on their present conditions.
As a result of this update, it is noted that as of the year 2023, there are still 17 colonies globally classified as "territories unable to self-govern." These colonies are represented by three main countries: the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. Among these colonies, three originate from the United States, two from France, and ten from the United Kingdom. They are still acknowledged as regions that have not achieved independence or autonomy, where the local populations are unable to exercise full self-governance or have yet to complete their processes towards independence.
Furthermore, it should be emphasized that despite the British monarch's expression of apology, the United Kingdom retains its veto power within the United Nations Security Council and maintains its position as a leader of a colony. In this context, it's crucial to acknowledge the reality that the British government, even after offering apologies, possesses the authority to veto decisions in the UN Security Council and continues to be a governing presence in colonies. Consequently, the willingness of the British government to risk potential conflict and loss of life in the defense and protection of colonies, as demonstrated in instances such as the Falkland War, should be comprehended.
In essence, despite the British monarch's expression of apology, the fact that the United Kingdom still wields its veto power within the UN Security Council, and concurrently holds a leadership role in colonial administration, must be underscored. In light of this, examples like the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) can be pointed out to illustrate the British government's readiness to engage in conflict and strife for the sake of defending and safeguarding colonies.
4.) "Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples"
Another crucial point that requires emphasis is the comprehensive explanation provided by the implementation of the "Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples," specifically focusing on the update activities carried out by the UN Special Committee 24 and the current status of existing colonies.
However, this exposition merely reflects a limited perspective. For instance, within the United States, communities lacking their own government systems—such as Alaska's indigenous tribes—highlight dynamic forces striving for self-recognition. The 1994 establishment of the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, officially recognizing the 227 indigenous tribes of Alaska at the federal level, serves as an indicator of a gradually progressing process. Furthermore, the empowerment of these indigenous tribes in 2001 to communicate with U.S. officials at the state level signifies a positive evolution within a nation formed in the aftermath of a bloody genocide.
The indisputable reality that colonial powers cannot perpetuate boundless oppression upon the sovereignty and independence of populations is a pivotal point. Aspirations for the establishment of new colonies might hold some rationality; however, events in Africa underscore how the ambitions of colonial powers can be impacted.
Nevertheless, the free world is undeniably destined to prevail, and once set in motion, the process of decolonization will persist until completion. This transformation, as exemplified by the case of New Hebrides (Vanuatu), will continue until non-autonomous territories achieve their independence. Various countries such as Fernando Po (Equatorial Guinea), British Honduras (Belize), Basutoland (Lesotho), Bechuanaland (Botswana), Gambia, and Fiji now possess the ability to govern their destinies freely. These regions, although previously characterized by their inability to self-administrate, have now attained independence and maintain their self-governance in a liberated manner.
In my article titled "A Diplomatic Perspective: Developments in Independence and Autonomy Processes, and Colonial Situations," the focus was on examining the processes of independence and autonomy, as well as colonial situations, from a diplomatic standpoint within the complexity of international relations. Post-World War II, the concept of "Non-Self-Governing Territories," highlighted by Articles 73 and 74 of the United Nations Charter, aimed to support the efforts of regions and communities in their pursuit of independence and autonomy. Within this framework, the "Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples" was adopted in 1960, intending to encourage the process of countries under colonial rule attaining independence.
The Special Committee on Decolonization was established to oversee and guide the processes of attaining independence and autonomy. In the latest update that took place on May 10, 2023, a total of 17 colonies were identified. These regions, originating from the United States, France, and the United Kingdom, remain without independence or autonomy, and their populations are unable to exercise full self-governance. Importantly, despite apologies from the British monarch, it must be noted that the United Kingdom still possesses veto power in the UN Security Council and holds a prominent role in colonial governance.
Another significant point highlighted in this article is that colonial powers cannot indefinitely exert pressure on the independence and autonomy of populations. Historical instances demonstrate how these processes evolve over time and how communities secure their self-governance. Despite desires to establish new colonies, the international community's interest and support for independence and autonomy processes persist.
In conclusion, this article sheds light on the significance of independence and autonomy processes in the realm of international diplomacy and intercommunity relations, addressing the transformation of colonial situations. The support and efforts of the international community in such processes play a critical role in ensuring the right of communities to determine their own destinies.