Media Statement

17 December 2020

South Africa co-hosts Event commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Declaration on Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples

South Africa will today, 17 December 2020, co-host an event in New York commemorating the historic General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) and the 60th Anniversary of the Declaration on Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.

The event will be streamed live on UN Web TV http://webtv.un.org/ at 22h00 South African time (15h00 New York time).

This seminal Declaration underlined that all peoples have the right to self-determination in Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories or all other territories, which have not yet attained independence in order to enable them to enjoy complete independence and freedom.

Marking the historic occasion, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor stated, “The Declaration is significant for many countries across the world who, through this Declaration, achieved their independence from colonial rule and occupation”.

More than 80 former colonies comprising approximately 750 million people have gained independence, to date. Whilst we celebrate this magnificent milestone, South Africa is reminded that there are currently 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories, across the globe that remain on the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories and those on the agenda of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence of Colonial Countries and Peoples (also known as the "Special Committee on Decolonisation" or the "C-24").

Minister Pandor remarked, “Noting that there remain people who still await the right to exercise their self-determination, it is incumbent on the international community to ensure that the process of decolonisation is completed in order for all countries to be duly liberated and enjoy their independence and freedom. Completing this mandate will require a continuing dialogue between the administering Powers and the peoples in the concerned territories, in accordance with the relevant United Nations decisions on decolonisation”.

Minister Pandor stressed, “South Africa reiterates its solidarity with the peoples of Palestine and Western Sahara in their quest to achieve fundamental freedom, equality, justice and dignity. It is necessary for the international community to uphold international legality in ensuring that the collective decisions of the United Nations and the African Union to end the illegal occupations in Palestine and Western Sahara are respected and fully adhered to. Any decisions contrary to these multilateral collective decisions must be discouraged and unequivocally disregarded. The inalienable right of people to be free from all forms of colonialist rule and oppression cannot be traded away”.

South Africa remains committed to the two-State solution for Palestine and Israel on the basis of international recognition and independence of the State of Palestine premised on the 04 June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

South Africa reiterates the need for the holding of a referendum for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in line with the decisions of both the United Nations and the African Union.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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