May 25th to May 31st International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories


The International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories is an annual observance that takes place from May 25th to May 31st. This significant week draws attention to the aspirations and rights of the peoples living in territories that have yet to attain self-governance and independence.

The United Nations General Assembly established this observance in 1972 with the aim of promoting awareness and support for the people living in non-self-governing territories. These territories are places where the people have not yet fully exercised their right to determine their own political status and have not achieved full independence or integration with another sovereign nation.

During this week

During this week, various activities, events, and campaigns are organized globally to raise awareness about the situation of the peoples in non-self-governing territories. These initiatives aim to inform and educate the public about the challenges and struggles faced by these populations, as well as to garner support for their right to self-determination.

The International Week of Solidarity serves as a platform for promoting dialogue, understanding, and cooperation between governments, international organizations, civil society groups, and individuals. It encourages stakeholders to work together to find peaceful and just solutions for the peoples living in these territories, respecting their rights and aspirations.

This observance also highlights the importance of decolonization and the need for the international community to actively support the efforts of the peoples of non-self-governing territories in their quest for self-determination. It emphasizes the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter, which upholds the right of all peoples to freely determine their political status and pursue their economic, social, and cultural development.

The UN Charter

Non-self-governing territories are territories whose people have not yet achieved full self-government, according to the United Nations Charter. In 1946, the UN created a list of these territories, which were under the administration of certain member states known as administering powers. Over the years, many territories have been removed from the list through the process of decolonization.

The UN Charter, specifically Chapter XI, emphasizes the importance of the well-being of the inhabitants of non-self-governing territories. It places the responsibility on administering powers to recognize the interests of the people as a "sacred trust" and to promote their advancement. Administering powers are expected to safeguard the rights of the people, including their natural resources, and assist in the development of self-government and democratic institutions. Regular reporting on the conditions in these territories is also required.

Chapter IX of the UN Charter encourages all states, as well as specialized agencies and other UN organizations, to provide both moral and material assistance to the peoples of non-self-governing territories.


The history of the list dates back to 1946 when eight member states listed 72 territories as non-self-governing. Over time, some territories became independent, and the transmission of information about certain territories was discontinued for various reasons. In 1963, a revised list of 64 territories was approved, including the remaining trust territories, territories administered by Spain, Namibia (then South West Africa), and territories under Portuguese administration and Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). The list has since been expanded to include other territories.

From 1960 to 2002, 54 territories achieved self-government, leaving 17 non-self-governing territories at present. To raise awareness and show solidarity with the peoples of these territories, the UN General Assembly established the annual observance of the Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories, as requested by resolution 54/91 in 1999.

By shining a spotlight on the issues faced by the peoples of non-self-governing territories, the International Week of Solidarity fosters a sense of global unity, compassion, and solidarity. It calls upon individuals and nations to actively engage in supporting the rights and aspirations of these peoples, promoting a more just and inclusive world.

As the world observes this important week, it is an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and governments to reflect on the ongoing struggles faced by the peoples of non-self-governing territories and to reaffirm their commitment to the principles of self-determination, human rights, and decolonization.


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