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21st Century … Colonialism


Residual Colonialism In The 21St Century …

  The 21st century deserves better. Most importantly, the nearly 2 million people still living under colonial rule deserve better.

Article
definitely a repost
  • 2012•05•29

    John Quintero

    Residual colonialism in the 21st centuryPhoto: DB King

    Though colonialism is generally considered to be a relic of the past, nearly 2 million people in 16 “non-self-governing territories” across the globe still live under virtual colonial rule.  In recognition of the United Nations International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories (25–31 May), we present this analysis of “residual colonialism in the 21st century”.

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    In 2009, the Government of the United Kingdom (UK) suspended parts of the Constitution of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), a British Overseas Territory, in response to allegations of systemic corruption in the territory. Direct rule from London was imposed over the democratically elected local government. This unilateral, top-down action removed the constitutional right to trial by jury, suspended the ministerial government and the House of Assembly, and charged a UK-appointed Governor with the administration of the islands.

    A tentative period for elections has been given (fall 2012 at the earliest), but this is subject to the deliberation of the British government and tied to a series of specific milestones that must be met. These announcements provoked protests and demonstrations by the islanders. The suspension of the TCI government over corruption allegations seems to run contrary to the way in which financial and governance crises are handled around the world, including in the UK itself. Scandals are part of political life, but constitutions are not suspended nor are democratically elected governments and institutions disbanded.

    How is it that these events have occurred in a world based on a system of supposedly equal sovereign states? The answer lies in the little known fact that colonial structures continue to exist even today in some parts of the world.

    Continuing colonialism

    The wave of decolonization that swept around the world in the latter half of the 20th century was once heralded as one of the great liberating movements in history. Yet, few seem to realize that colonialism is still with us. As of 2012, 16 territories are deemed still to be under colonial rule and are labeled by the United Nations as “non-self-governing territories (NSGTs)” — areas in which the population has not yet attained a full measure of self-government.

    The 16 NSGTs, home to nearly 2 million people, are spread across the globe. They remain under the tutelage of former colonial powers (currently referred to as “administering powers”), such as the UK, the USA and France.

    Most of the NSGTs feature as only small dots on the world map but are in fact prominent players on the world stage. Some act as the world’s leading financial centres, with GDP per capita amongst the world’s top 10 (e.g., the Cayman Islands and Bermuda), some constitute vital bastions for regional security (e.g., Guam), and there are those whose geographical location has made them prone to diplomatic disputes (e.g., Gibraltar and the Falklands/Malvinas).

    A UN committee on decolonization does exist (Special Committee of 24 on Decolonization), under the purview of the Fourth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly (Special Political and Decolonization Committee). Its mission is to oversee the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (14 December 1960).

    The world underwent a political renovation following the formation of the United Nations in 1945, and the number of sovereign UN Member States has skyrocketed from the original 51 to 193. However, the 50-plus years since the founding of the United Nations have proved to be insufficient to eradicate a centuries-old structure of dominance. This is in spite of the advancement of legal systems based on the notions of the sovereign equality of states and human rights prevalent in the contemporary world.

    Decolonization, as bluntly put by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, remains an unfinished business; an unfinished process that has been with the international community for too long. In solidarity with the peoples of the NSGTs, the present decade (2010-2020) has been declared the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (as the past two decades have proved inadequate to ensure the disappearance of such an archaic concept).

    Independence is not the only option

    The doctrine of self-determination and political equality has prevailed as the guiding principle for decolonization ever since the inception of the United Nations. Much progress has been achieved and political autonomy for many former dependent states (micro-states, even) has been realized, but the decolonization process remains stalled. No territory has achieved self-government since East Timor (now Timor-Leste) won full independence from Indonesia in 2002.

    The many achievements of decolonization by the United Nations cannot be considered truly global while some peoples continue to live under colonial rule. Administering states such as the UK and France continue to exercise top-down authority through modernized dependency governance models that, while perhaps ensuring sustained economic progress, create a democratic deficit and political vulnerability based on unequal status.

    The decolonization agenda championed by the United Nations is not based exclusively on independence. There are three other ways in which an NSGT can exercise self-determination and reach a full measure of self-government (all of them equally legitimate): integration within the administering power, free association with the administering power, or some other mutually agreed upon option for self-rule.

    The current impasse is due, in part, to the denial by the administering states of these options, but also to a lack of public awareness on the part of the peoples of the NSGTs that they are entitled to freely determine their territory’s political status in accordance with the options presented to them by the United Nations. It is the exercise of the human right of self-determination, rather than independence per se, that the United Nations has continued to push for.

    ColonizedNon-Self-GoverningThe framework against colonialism

    International law provides a particularly effective conceptual framework from which to criticize these complex dependency arrangements. In the UN Charter, not only Articles 1 and 55 maintain that one of its fundamental purposes and principles is “to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples”. A further three chapters of the Charter are devoted to the dependent territories, namely Chapter XI (Declaration regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories), Chapter XII (International Trusteeship System) and Chapter XIII (The Trusteeship Council).

    Core human rights conventions, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) both affirm the right of self-determination and that the states parties to the covenants have the responsibility to promote the realization of self-determination, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations. Colonialism has been formally delegitimized as an acceptable international practice, as per the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (General Assembly Resolution 1514 [XV]) in 1960 and a companion resolution defining the three legitimate models of political equality (General Assembly Resolution 1541 [XV]). Further resolutions, for example, established permanent sovereignty over natural resources (General Assembly Resolution 1803 [XVII]).

    In October 1970, UN General Assembly Resolution 2621 (XXV) declared that the further continuation of colonialism in all its forms and manifestations is a crime, and in 1977 General Assembly Resolution 32/14 reaffirmed the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle.

    The road ahead

    Colonialism made the political world map look much as it does today, drawing up borders with no regard for local sensibilities and realities. It negated or purposefully misconceived the cultural, economic, political and social conditions under which the colonized led their lives. In the process, colonial powers imposed inappropriate identities on the people they ruled, crippling peoples’ self-esteem, thus diminishing their self-efficacy and potentially stunting their long-term social development.

    Given the modern emphasis on the equality of states and inalienable nature of their sovereignty, many people do not realize that these non-self-governing structures still exist. Thus, the world has closed its eyes to continuing colonial dependence.

    World media has the potential to play a pivotal role in advancing decolonization by exposing developments that infringe on the exercise of the right of self-determination and that worsen the political vulnerability of the NSGTs. The issue at hand is not that colonialism does not exist in today’s world because the populations of these territories overwhelmingly do not define these territories as colonies. Rather, it is that these populations have not been provided with an opportunity to decide on a legitimate political status through popular consultation in the form of an acceptable act of self-determination. Once this is made sufficiently clear, media coverage and overview can be expected.

    In light of the disbandment of an overseas democratically elected government in TCI, the international community, the public in general and the peoples of the NGSTs alike have been reminded that the UN agenda on colonialism is very much relevant and crucial — -not only for the protection of fundamental human rights, but to democratic governance and an international order principled upon the notions of sovereignty and the equality of states.

    One of the greatest and most visible achievements of the United Nations has been to pursue the decolonization of the colonized world. However, a successful end to this process cannot be based on simply removing territories from the UN list of NSGTs (de-listing), but rather on the actual achievement of full self-government.

    De-listing cannot be perceived as the goal, but rather as a secondary product resulting from clear indicators of self-government, political equality vis-à-vis the administering state, and the promotion and support of genuine political education programmes that allow the populace of those territories to freely choose their status and their future. Not doing so would result in stymieing the legitimate aspirations of peoples whose human rights the United Nations was created to protect.

    Colonialism is a concept of an exploitative past that runs counter to the principles of sovereign equality on which the United Nations is grounded. As commonly expressed in General Assembly debates, colonialism is anachronistic, archaic, and outmoded; it contravenes the fundamental tenets of democracy, freedom, human dignity and human rights.

    The 21st century deserves better. Most importantly, the nearly 2 million people still living under colonial rule deserve better.

    Black History Month

Statewide ban on disposable plastic bags is signed into law by Brown ~ reminder


How many use “the Media” for voting information


voter-suppression_petition

Just another rant …

The President says the time for talk is over; I agree, but if you read or listen to the media who interview folks on the right often characterize this President’s actions as frantic furious regarding health care reform; in the end it got done.  Now, use nasty rhetoric that should question the oath that these men&women took before taking their seats in Congress.  I would say maybe those who did not have healthcare are thankful whether it is called ACA, Obamacare or any alias given by their states along with those that accepted the expansion of Medicare funding. Our President has made it possible to help a fellow American have a chance at living. The hospitals, Drs., Nurses and the other healthcare providers are only as good as the Hospital Officials in control of how, who, the care being given to their clients and ACA is doing it, though Republicans certainly want it to stop.   We all know the media engages in the spin; trying to set the public mood is definitely offensive; Americans have been talking about health care reform for a long time, Congress has avoided voting let alone talk about reform for over 40 years. It is time to move this a long get it done and create more jobs for everyone for our economy that is at risk yet again.  The fact is, Republicans continue to block , hold up bills that have jobs attached to it and have held enough hearings using taxpayer funds that could have funded so many things to help “we the People”

The so-called Obamacare aka ACA, is a jobs creator, though the Media has yet to comment on how it would and or how many jobs are possible; fact is that an additional 31million will need help; the current work force would be unable to handle the workload.  Is it possible that the Media prefers to give out selective information as viewers watch wonder and are still unable to challenge these people who rake in the big bucks telling just enough truth to sedate

Most if not all of us know Republicans have done almost everything, they can to stall any progress; which includes the Presidents nominees, health care and many bills that the Senate passed and sent to the House, only to be stalled and or blocked by more filibusters than any time in the past. The government might be broken like the Media and some Senators have said but it still needs to work for “We the People” … wouldn’t it be great if Republicans let the governing party do the work they seemed to have left or weren’t interested in  when they had a Republican President for 8 years ago.

There are reports from conservative writers, that this is a frantic furious moment for the President. this is just absurd. The notion that the public is weary over what is going on in Congress and Democrats are wavering has led the public to believe in rumors falsehoods and that this is a new behavior. Unfortunately, this is how Congress works, though to be sure NOT on this level NOT obstruction solely based on who is in the Whitehouse.  Yes, Health Care Reform  is President Barack Obama’s baby, it’s not only a historic moment but one that will change the lives of Americans all over the country and in a good way because as we all know the last eight years have been good … For The Rich.  Don’t get me wrong being or wanting to be rich is great … the problem is how folks are using their riches …for themselves ok but are they manipulating the system holding the mid or lower classes down controlling them with their riches.  In a time when some probably knew the end of spending without paying for it would finally rear its ugly head, no one seemed to want to put the brakes on back when the House of Bush was saying … charge it! and if you take notice … the shutdown the hearings have cost Americans millions … all created by Republicans

  I say vote for 21st Century living and that means letting go of Tea Party and Republican ideology.

 The fact is that they believe in exclusion or at least that 47% of us should be punished….

Lest we include … Vets, Seniors, Students, Minorities, The Poor, Gays, those on Social Security, Medicare/caid

Arrested for fighting slavery? 35.8 million people are trapped in modern slavery around the world


WALK FREE.ORG Modern slavery couldn’t be closer to home for Biram Dah Abeid. The twelfth of thirteen children born to an enslaved mother, Biram was released from a life of servitude while still in the womb.1 His release was the dying act of his mother’s master in Mauritania, a country where the children of slaves become the property of their owners.

Biram grew up a member of the Haratina, the class of people known to be the descendants of slaves, many of whom remain trapped in situations of slavery and exploitation by Mauritania’s slave-owning elites. Biram and others have made it their life’s mission to end this abuse in Mauritania.2

However they face regular harassment and harsh treatment in this fight for freedom. As you read this Biram and his fellow activists are sitting in a prison cell for their work to end slavery in Mauritania — and we need your help to secure justice

Call on the Mauritanian government to free Biram Dah Abeid and his fellow anti-slavery activists.

The 2014 Global Slavery Index revealed that   — and Mauritania is one of the worst offenders, with the highest prevalence of modern slavery in the world.3That’s why the work of anti-slavery activists such as Biram is so important; but instead of addressing the root causes of slavery, the Mauritanian government is working to intimidate those that speak out

Sources close to the activists have made serious allegations that some of the group have been tortured, including being stripped, beaten and trampled by police since their arrest last year.

The activists were arrested during a peaceful anti-slavery protest and were convicted in January for inciting hatred under Mauritania’s terrorism laws.

A huge wave of international pressure now could force the Mauritanian government to prioritize ending slavery and stop the harassment of anti-slavery activists.

Send a message to Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, calling on him to release these activists and get serious about tackling modern slavery.

It has now been weeks since Biram and his fellow activists’ imprisonment: let’s not wait any longer to get them out of prison and back to fighting against slavery.

In hope,

Victoria, Mika, Jayde, Joanna and the Walk Free team

1 http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/08/freedom-fighter
2 http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/08/freedom-fighter
3 http://www.globalslaveryindex.org/

FDR had something to say about voting


votingFranklin D. Roosevelt once said

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”