International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories

From the United Nations:

The UN General Assembly, by its resolution 60/119 of 8 December 2005, requested the annual observance of the Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories.

In the UN Charter, a Non-Self-Governing Territory is defined as a Territory “whose people have not yet attained a full measure of self-government”.

In 1946, several UN Member States identified a number of Territories under their administration that were not self-governing and placed them on a UN list. Countries administering Non-Self-Governing Territories are called administering Powers.  As a result of the decolonization process over the years, most of the Territories were removed from the list. Sixteen Territories remain, among them Western Sahara.

In response to a referral by the 220th General Assembly (2012) of legal and other factors affecting the status and future of the territory of Western Sahara, the 221st General Assembly (2014) acted to:

1.     Urge the U. S. Department of State and the U. S. ambassador to the United Nations to continue to call upon the community of nations to support self-determination for the people of the region known as Western Sahara in accord with prior UN resolutions and determinations of international courts, including provision for a supervised referendum in which the human rights of all Sahrawi and others residents are protected and a fair, internationally recognized settlement is achieved, and the proposal of the United States for human rights observers in this effectively occupied, non-self-governing territory.

2.     Direct the Presbyterian Mission Agency to work with ecumenical and interfaith partners and other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in support of these efforts on behalf of Western Sahara, and to give attention as feasible to justice issues in other non-self-governing trust territories, territorial possessions, and occupied territories.

3.     Direct the Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) to monitor the activities of international corporations in Western Sahara in which the Foundation or Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) may be an investor, including the Potash Corporation (currently in church portfolios), initiating correspondence on the impacts of that firm’s mineral extraction, and recommending appropriate further corporate social responsibility measures consistent with the concerns noted above.

4.     Direct the Presbyterian Mission Agency and the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy, to monitor matters of human rights and religious liberty in Western Sahara and other countries across the Northern Africa region where ethnic and religious tensions and undemocratic governance may threaten international peace and security, and make recommendations on public policy and economic witness as appropriate.

The Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories is an appropriate moment to lift up the people of Western Sahara

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