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AS report included in UN Special Committee on Decolonization

reporters@samoanews.com

The UN Special Committee on Decolonization has designated Ecuador the host country of this year’s decolonization Regional Seminar set for May 28-30 in Guayaquil, and the Lolo Administration is expected to make an announcement early next month as to will be representing the territorial government.
 
The seminar location is rotated between the Caribbean and Pacific regions each year and last year’s gathering was held in the Caribbean.
 
The Seminar’s participants this year will include a formal delegation of the Decolonization Committee, United Nations Member States, representatives of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, the nations administering them, as well as experts from civil society and non-governmental organizations, according to a UN news release.
 
Last month, the Decolonization Committee received the Working Papers on American Samoa prepared by the Secretariat and this is done every year for all 16-non governing territories of the world. The working paper, or document, provides background information on each non-governing territory.
 
American Samoa’s 13-page document, covers the areas of political and legal issues, the constitution, the current budget, economic conditions (e.g. fisheries and agriculture, tourism, and fisheries/agriculture); and social conditions such as labor, immigration, education, and public health.
 
Most of the information on American Samoa has been cited in previous reports unless there are major changes in the previous year. For example, the document provided the outcome of the 2012 election, where Lolo Matalasi Moliga was elected governor, Congressman Faleomavaega Eni was re-elected for a 13th consecutive two-year term, and the referendum giving the Fono the veto-override power was defeated by voters.
 
Also included in the new document are some of the highlights by the governor’s representative to last year’s seminar. For example, the Special Committee had been asked over the years to remove American Samoa from the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.
 
While American Samoa did not advocate a change in its position of removal from the list of colonized States, it must continue to progress politically and economically, while respecting the concerns of the United States and the United Nations, according to the document, which didn’t identify by name the governor’s representative.
 
As to the position of the administering Power - which is the United States - the document provided no new position of the federal government. It cited a Nov. 2, 2006 position - the last one made - via letter from the U.S. State Department.
 
The letter, addressed to Faleomavaega, who sought an official position of the feds, states in part that the status of the insular areas - including American Samoa - regarding their political relation with the federal government was an internal United States issue, and not one that came under the purview of the Special Committee.
 
Additionally, the Special Committee had no authority to alter in any way the relationship between the United States and those territories and no mandate to engage the United States in negotiations on their status.



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