New Caledonia awaits decolonisation

UN special committee conference highlights the French Pacific territory's uncertain fate.

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    A conference is being held by the United Nations Special Committee of 24 on decolonisation in New Caledonia, a French territory that is among the countries and territories on the UN list to be decolonised.

    The UN committee, responsible for studying the implementation of the declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples, is more generally called the "Special Committee of 24".

    It oversaw the independence of the former Indonesian province of East Timor (Timor Leste).

    The number of remaining countries and territories to be decolonised has, therefore, dropped from 17 to 16.

    They include, in the Pacific, Tokelau (New Zealand), Pitcairn (United Kingdom) and New Caledonia (France).

    The decolonisation process of New Caledonia is enshrined in the Noumea Accord, signed in 1998 between pro-independence and pro-France parties.

    With a special focus on the notion of "common destiny", it provides guidelines for a gradual transfer of powers from France to local authorities, a power-sharing government and a possible referendum on self-determination between 2014 and 2018.

    New Caledonia has been on the UN decolonisation list since 1986, after independence-related unrest in the mid-1980s.

    As part of a special series on the world's remaining colonies, Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett reports from the capital, Noumea, on New Caledonia's decolonisation process and its progress.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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