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Eradicate colonialism by 2030? Unlikely.

Clinging on to colonialism
A Colonial-era fresco at Palais de la Porte Dorée. Photo by Guilhem Vellut/Flickr
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On the 21st of June the United Nations General Assembly started publishing a number of draft resolutions calling on the colonial powers to relinquish their control on the few remaining colonies. The UN states that its target is to eradicate colonialism by 2030. To date, 17 non-self-governing territories remain. Of these, fifteen are governed by permanent members of the Security Council:

  • 10 by the UK,
  • 3 by the US and;
  • 2 by France.

Of course, this list does not include occupied territories, such as Palestine, the Chagos Archipelago and Crimea.

What are some of the concerns expressed by the draft resolutions:

  1. “[T]he use and exploitation of the natural resources of the Non-SelfGoverning Territories by the administering Powers for their benefit”;
  2. “The use of the Territories as international financial centres to the detriment of the world economy” and;
  3. “The consequences of any economic activities of the administering Powers that are contrary to the interests of the people of the Territories”

Can it be done?

The fact that these draft resolutions stem from the General Assembly, as opposed to the Security Council, means that the resolutions may pass. Whether the lingering colonial overlords sitting firmly in the Security Council with their veto powers will take heed is quite another matter. Britain in particular will probably dig its heels in as it did when on May 22, 2019 the General Assembly adopted a resolution affirming that the Chagos Archipelago formed an integral part of the territory of Mauritius. Still, a lot can happen between now and 2030… 

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