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Abdelhamid Chebchoub, Ambassador of Algeria to Serbia

60th Anniversary Of The Declaration Of The Granting Of Independence To The Colonial Countries And Peoples

Sixty years ago, on December 14 , 1960, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a Declaration on the granting of Independence to the colonial countries and peoples, more commonly known under the reference number assigned to it in the International Law, as the Resolution 1514 XV.

The adoption of this resolution came as a call to revolt launched by countries fond of peace and justice which, since the impetus of Bandung, were increasingly united in action against the inhuman colonial system still raging in some parts of the world, committing oppression and injustice and denying freedom, contrary to the principles laid out in the United Nations Charter.

This resolution has also resonated as an echo to liberation struggles led by African and Asian peoples, of which the liberation war in Algeria daily conveyed to cozy lounges of the United Nations Palace in New York, atrocities of colonialism and acts of bravery of the Algerian people against colonialism as well as their determination to eradicate it.

Demonstrations in Algeria on December 11 1960, when the Algerians went out in large numbers braving the bayonets of the colonial forces, to shout loudly their refutation of the oppression and their desire for freedom and independence, that took place just a couple of days before the adoption of this resolution, did indubitably contributed to dissuading negative votes and ensuring the largest possible adherence to the declaration.

This resolution stated the general principles and laid the legal foundations for the eradication of the colonial system. It served as the legal framework for the United Nations to implement the decolonization of the territories which were administered by the colonial powers in Africa and in Asia (Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe (former Rhodesia), Namibia, Timor Leste, Belize…, carried on the strong momentum and under the moral pressure of the majority of Nations, united within the Non-aligned Movement with Algiers and Belgrade as flagships.

The Declaration on the granting of the Independence to colonial countries and peoples recognizes, moreover, that the denial of the right of self-determination to colonial peoples and territories constitutes a hotbed of tension which threatens international peace and security.

Fully conscious of that fact, the United Nations continues to address the question of decolonization within the General Assembly Special Political and Decolonization Committee (the Fourth Commission).

It is with the same concern that a Special Committee in charge of the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, (the Committee of 24), that was established in 1961, continues to address issues of decolonization up to today.

That means that decolonization remains one of the objectives of the United Nations, despite the attempts to empty it of its substance, made by former colonial powers manly and strangely supported by a handful of political officials and pseudo intellectuals from newly independent countries who either have the complex of the colonized, as it was diagnosed by Frantz Fanon or are moved by personal interest that is contrary to the one of their countries.

However, it is worth mentioning that even sixty years after, the humanity has not succeeded to eradicate entirely the colonial system nor has fulfilled this redemptive work.

Certain powers attempt today to prioritize global challenges meanly on the basis of their own basely mercantile interests and their hegemonic inclinations, and to put the seal of obsolescence on the declaration. It cannot however hide the desire to continue the same practices of the bygone colonial era in a more elaborate, global and integrated form.

Indeed, the territories listed by the United Nations as non-autonomous whose final status was meant to be defined within the framework of the implementation of the Resolution 1514 XV, saw the process of their decolonization frustrated on account of the avoidance of responsibility by the occupying colonial power and the immobility of the United Nations institutions.

Western Sahara, a non-autonomous territory, registered as such by the United Nations in 1963 which was the subject of a settlement plan in 1991 foreseeing that the Sahrawi people will express their right to self-determination and independence in conformity with the Resolution 1514 XV, remains the most striking example of perjury to the United Nations Charter.

For more than forty years, the Sahrawi people expect the United Nations Organization and its Security Council to assume their responsibilities and implement their own decisions concerning this territory, the last colony in Africa, by organizing a referendum of self-determination, in conformity with the Declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples.

This resolution laid down the rules and the legal ways so as to enable the countries under colonial domination to achieve sovereignty.

Attempts to divert these ways by resorting to protocol subterfuge such as the opening of dummy consulates, changing the human component or plundering natural resources of these territories, will inevitably fail in front of the international law stronghold, the only bastion of defense of the weakest against the strongest.

It is obvious that the international recognition of sovereignty cannot be decreed as a result of declarations on social media nor decided by lobbies as powerful as they might be, but it derives from the peoples will and can assert itself only if based on legal norms set out in the international law.

Therefore, it is vain to flaunt the sovereignty of colonial peoples and countries as a trade commodity in the haggling of areas of influence and domination, that recalls the shameful bargaining of the Berlin Conference in 1885 which the history has condemned “.

Additionally, it is fair to question the credibility of certain States, intellectuals and analysts, relayed by media of doubtful independence, who claim to be defenders of freedom, the human rights and democracy, and who in the same time observe in silence or even are an accomplice when it comes to the persistence of colonialism in this region of Africa.

The right to freedom and to self-determination being an imprescriptible right stemming from the Human Rights, remains a perennial concern and a timely topic.

This sixtieth anniversary of the Declaration on the granting of independence to countries and colonial peoples should be a call and stimulus to the international community and the world powers to renew vows of loyalty to the founding principles of the United Nations Charter, and put an end to the decolonization process as the only way to spare humanity from the throes of armed conflict, injustice and oppression enabling peoples of the world to live in peace, prosperity and harmony.

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