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Suva, Fiji Islands

MEDIA RELEASE South Pacific Forum Koror, Palau October 3, 1999


The Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP) Movement has called on South Pacific Forum members to maintain the issue of the "Right of Self Determination" on the Forum agenda, and to continue to monitor developments in the Pacific’s non-self-governing territories.

In a statement to Pacific leaders attending the 30th South Pacific Forum in Koror, Palau, the NFIP Movement urged the Forum to discuss a proactive strategy on Decolonization at the United Nations.

"Colonialism has not come to an end, as some countries believe. We request the South Pacific Forum members to move at the United Nations General Assembly for a further extension of the period of the ‘UN Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism’ because this is also important to the implementation of the Barbados Plan of Action for Small Island States," states the NFIP Movement letter. "The Forum Member States should encourage the Special Committee on Decolonization to identify resources to carry out the relevant economic and political studies and analysis contained in the Plan of Action of the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism."

The South Pacific Forum Vision Statement, formulated at the 26th South Pacific Forum meeting in 1995, affirms that: "Self determination will be exercised in the remaining non-independent territories."

The NFIP Movement letter therefore requests the Forum to move for the inscription or reinscription of French Polynesia, West Papua, Bougainville, Hawai‘i and Easter Island on the UN Decolonization Committee list of non-self-governing territories. "We also express our support for Timor Lorosae (East Timor) to be given observer status at the South Pacific Forum," the NFIP Movement stated.

The NFIP Movement also urged the Forum to work in concert with the Caribbean Community, through joint meetings at the United Nations, to discuss the future of self-determination of colonial territories in the two regions. (The remaining seventeen colonies listed with the UN are small island states in the Caribbean and Pacific).

"Self-determination also needs to be considered as a Human Right on the agenda of other relevant UN bodies that discuss human rights. The Forum can also ask the UN to assist the non-self-governing territories in the Pacific in their socio-economic development and security concerns through the respective mandates of the specialized agencies and technical organs of the United Nations."

The NFIP Movement stated that various moves have been made at the United Nations in the last few years by some countries, which do not support the mandate of the Special Committee on Decolonization and wish to see it abolished. "We are concerned about this development at the United Nations and we write to ask if you can put this matter on the Agenda of the forthcoming South Pacific Forum Meeting, to discuss a proactive strategy by the South Pacific Forum member states of the United Nations," the letter to Forum leaders stated.

The NFIP movement is a non-government network, which unites a range of independence movements, indigenous organizations, church and community groups from 25 Pacific nations. For further information, contact Stanley Simpson at (680) 488 8019, or (680) 488 1671 (after hours), or PCRC Director Lopeti Senituli at (679) 304 649.

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