Guam officials testify before United Nations

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Guam officials testified before the United Nations this morning local time, stressing the message that self-determination is needed for Guam and other modern-day colonies to adequately address the effects of climate change.

Guam officials testified before the United Nations this morning local time, stressing the message that self-determination is needed for Guam and other modern-day colonies.

The Guam delegation was led by Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio and included senators Regine Biscoe Lee, Kelly Marsh (Taitano), Sabina Perez, and Decolonization Commission Director Melvin Won Pat-Borja who appeared before the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (also referred to as the 4th Committee) of the U.N.

Tenorio, calling in live from New York, told the Patti Arroyo show on NewsTalk K57 that in his address he reiterated Guam’s quest for decolonization, self-determination, and the return of excess lands.

Tenorio said he also raised the issue of returning excess lands three times during a visit to the Pentagon.

“I think this is the right time to bring this issue up because there’s renewed interest on Guam due to the military buildup,” the lieutenant governor said.

He added that the last time there was a big return of excess lands was in 2011.

The lieutenant governor said he also met with ambassadors from independent Pacific nations like Tonga and Nauru in line with Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero’s desire to expand ties with Pacific states.

Tenorio said Guam is getting the backing of these countries for various Guam-specific issues.

He also asked the UN to enable a visiting mission to examine and record the situation on Guam.

“This would elevate the issue of decolonization to the highest levels of the administering power,” the lieutenant governor said.

Promises

The 4th Committee and General Assembly of the U.N. have made repeated statements of support and commitments to aid non-self-governing territories in their quest for self-determination. The Guam delegation requested the global organization to help implement or secure these promises, including:

* Being provided continuous information on Administering Powers’ efforts to advance the status of colonized peoples, and facilitating their exercise of the right to self-determination;

* Administering Powers taking all necessary measures against environmental degradation and ecological damage;

* Ensuring any exercises of self-determination “are not affected by changes in the demographic composition of Territories as a result of immigration or the displacement of the peoples of the Territories;”

* Administering Powers refraining from the use of Non-Self-Governing Territories for military bases and installations; and

* The Secretary-General or their Special Representative overseeing Visiting Missions.

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero had already requested for a U.N. visiting mission to Guam.

Sen. Lee said the United Nations follow-through on these long-standing international commitments to colonial countries and peoples would go a long way to prove that they are not being ignored.

“As an unincorporated territory or ‘possession’ of the United States, Guam has no authority to negotiate direct investments with other countries. We generally are not eligible for development bank financing afforded to other small, independent nations. There is no meaningful participation for us within the existing governmental framework of the Administering Power,” said Senator Lee. “America’s environmental policies and laws are often dictated to us without local input to determine whether they help or hurt.”

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