After UN , commission wants to reignite public interest on decolonization

Commission on Decolonization Executive Director Melvin Won Pat-Borja delivers his testimony during the United Nations Regional Seminar in St. George's, Grenada on May 2-4, 2019. (Contributed photo)

Guam – Commission on Decolonization Executive Director Melvin Won-Pat Borja outlined the administration’s goals to reignite public interest on the process of decolonization. Won Pat-Borja recently testified before a United Nations panel during the 2019 Regional Seminar in St. George’s, Grenada last week.

According to Won Pat, the administration’s plans include a Self-Determination Study in collaboration with UOG, a Regional Conference, and a Media Education Campaign. A Self-Determination Plebiscite will allow Native Inhabitants of Guam and their descendants to choose Independence, Integration or Free Association.

The focus of the UN seminar was on accelerating the implementation of eradicating colonialism through the process of decolonization.

Today, according to the United Nations, there are still 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories remaining in the world, including Guam.

In an interview with Phill Leon Guerrero on K57, Won Pat said the UN is an important part of the process and that negotiations related to the decolonization process should not be limited to the federal government.

“The UN is important because it allows us to garner international support, build allies, build relationships with other nations,” Won Pat said.

During his presentation, Won Pat-Borja used two federal lawsuits against the Government of Guam to espouse the fundamental need to expand support of the Territory’s quest for self-determination. The first case involves a U.S. Military Captain who sued the local government after his unsuccessful attempt to register as a voter in Guam’s decolonization plebiscite.

In that case, the District Court Judge ruled against the Government of Guam, declaring the island’s Plebiscite Law unconstitutional. The second case was filed by the Federal Government against the Government of Guam over the implementation of the CHamoru Land Trust Commission (CLTC), claiming the program is racially discriminatory and violates the Fair Housing Act.

“The aforementioned cases serve as reminders that Guam is a spoil of war, its people
remain colonized, and that their self-determination is not prioritized by the U.S..
Worse is that laws passed by a legislative body, elected at large, are cast as racial
with no recognition or critical examination of the racism inherent in our continued
colonization. In fact, many indigenous and native inhabitants on Guam have a strong sense of patriotism and loyalty to the U.S. despite this history. No amount of
patriotism, however, should warrant a blind eye to the inequity of our current
unincorporated territory status,” Won Pat said.