Tag Archives: United States Congress

February 11, 1812 – Packing & Cracking ~ gerrymander~ a repost and reminder


Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814), American statesman
Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814), American statesman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The information below is a historic  timeline regarding the Census and Gerrymandering or Packing & Cracking rules

In December 1975, the Congress passed Public Law (P.L.) 94-171. This law requires the Census Bureau to make special preparations to provide redistricting data to the 50 states no later than April 1 of the year following a census (so April 1, 2011, for the 2010 Census). P.L. 94-171 specifies that within 1 year of Census Day, the Census Bureau must send each state the small-area data the state will need to redraw districts for the state legislature.

P.L. 94-171 sets up a voluntary program between the Census Bureau and those states that wish to receive population tabulations for voting districts and other state-specified geographic areas.

Under this program, those responsible for the legislative apportionment or redistricting of each state may devise a plan identifying the voting districts for which they want the specific tabulations and submit it to the Census Bureau.

Beginning in 2005, the Redistricting Data Office of the Census Bureau met with state officials in 46 states. These meetings explained the timeline and programs available for the 2010 Census, providing states the time to prepare and allocate resources in advance of the census. The states also provided the Census Bureau with valuable feedback on census program planning.

The 2010 Census Redistricting Data Program is a five-phase program. During Phase 1 (2005–2006), the Census Bureau collected state legislative district boundaries and associated updates to tabulate legislative districts. This phase also included an aggressive 2010 Census communications plan, with visits to state capitals, to make sure the states were informed and prepared for the upcoming census.

Phase 2 (2008–2010) consisted of the Voting District/Block Boundary Suggestion Project (VTD/BBSP) in which states received TIGER/Line® shapefiles and the MAF/TIGER Partnership Software (MTPS) to electronically collect voting district boundaries, feature updates, suggested block boundaries, and corrected state legislative district boundaries. Both Phase 1 and Phase 2 are voluntary programs that include a step where the state verifies the submitted data.

Phase 3 constitutes the delivery of the data for the 2010 Census. The Census Bureau will deliver the geographic and data products to the majority and minority leadership in the state legislatures, the governors, and any designated P.L. 94-171 liaisons. Once bipartisan receipt of the data is confirmed, the data will be made available online to the public within 24 hours through the American FactFinder. For this census, the P.L. 94-171 data will include population counts for small areas within each state, as well as housing occupied/vacancy counts.

After the Census Bureau provides the data, the states will begin their redistricting. States are responsible for delineating their own congressional and legislative boundaries and their legislatures. Legislatures, secretaries of state, governors, and/or redistricting commissions carry out the process.  

Go to www.census.gov for the complete article …

For your information, wiki states, “Gerrymandering is effective because of the wasted vote effect.

The Etymology

First printed in March 1812, the political cartoon above was drawn in reaction to the state senate electoral districts drawn by the Massachusetts legislature to favour the Democratic-Republican Party candidates of Governor Elbridge Gerry over the Federalists.

The caricature satirizes the bizarre shape of a district in Essex County, Massachusetts as a dragon-like “monster.”

Federalist newspapers editors and others at the time likened the district shape to a salamander, and the word gerrymander was a blend of that word and Governor Gerry‘s last name.

Resources: www.Census.gov
 and Wiki
 

Toxic Fashions… It’s 2021 have things changed or just gotten worse?


So, I say, play it again Sam!

Sometime around the 21st  of November in 2012, Greenpeace discovered and exposed Zara as one of maybe many companies using manufacturers that have toxic chemicals in their clothing… 

On the 29th of November,  a statement of commitment from Zara’s manufacturing company to toxic-free fashion ~~ below  Clothes rack

Achieving the Zero Discharge

        Inditex‘s commitment, in connection with the use of chemical substances in the manufacturing process of its products, is reflected in its chemical policy, which establishes restrictions and prohibitions in the use of these substances.

        So far, this policy has been developed and periodically updated in conformity with the most demanding international legislation and in collaboration with the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). The policy regulates not only those “substances whose use is legally limited” and which, if present in the product above certain levels, could be hazardous for human health, such as: Formaldehyde, Arylamines, Phenols (PCP, TeCP), Cadmium, Lead, Chromium (VI), Nickel, Allergenic Dyes, among others; additionally, it limits the use of certain parameters not contemplated by the effective legislation, such as: Organochlorinated Compounds and Isocyanates. In order to guarantee the compliance of said policy by Inditex’s suppliers, Inditex carries out audits and regular inspections of the production processes and continuous reviews of the products.

        INDITEX Commitment to Zero Discharge

        27th November 2012

        In line with Inditex’s long-term sustainability program Inditex recognizes the urgent need for eliminating industrial releases of all hazardous chemicals (1).  According to its approach based on prevention (2) and the Precautionary Principle (3) Inditex is committed to zero discharges (4) of all hazardous chemicals from the whole lifecycle and all production procedures that are associated with the making and using of all products Inditex sells (5) by 01 January 2020. Inditex recognises that to achieve this goal, mechanisms for disclosure and transparency about the hazardous chemicals used in its global supply chain are important and necessary, in line with the ‘Right to Know principle’ (6). In line with this principle Inditex will increase the public availability and transparency of its restricted substance list and audit process and will set up public disclosure of discharges of hazardous chemicals in its supply chain.

        Inditex also commits to support systemic (i.e. wider societal and policy) change to achieve zero discharge of hazardous chemicals (associated with supply chain and the lifecycles of products) within one generation (7) or less. This commitment includes sustained investment in moving industry, government, science and technology to deliver on systemic change and to affect system change across the industry towards this goal.

        The 2020 goal also demands the collective action of industry, as well as engagement of regulators and other stakeholders. To this end, Inditex will work with other companies in the apparel sector and other brands it could sell, as well as material suppliers, the broader chemical industry, NGOs and other stakeholders to achieve this goal.

        Inditex understands the scope of the commitment to be a long term vision – with short term practice to be defined by the following individual action plan:

        Individual action plan.

        1. Supply-chain disclosure.

        In line with Inditex’s commitment to the public’s ‘right to know’ the chemical substances used within its global supply-chain and the products it sells, Inditex will be taking the following actions:

        1. publish its updated ‘Restricted Substances List’ and audit processes by the end of April 2013, and annually thereafter.        

        2. begin public disclosure of discharges of hazardous chemicals in its supply chain via individual facility level disclosure of chemical use and discharges data, to be achieved via an incremental process, beginning with the following actions:

        i) by no later than end of March 2013 public disclosure of at least 10 Chinese supplier facilities, plus at least 10 additional facilities in other parts of the “global south” (i.e. 20 facilities in total);        

        ii) by no later than December 2013, at least another 30 Chinese  supplier facilities (in addition to the facilities in i) above), plus at least another50 additional facilities in other parts of the “global south” (in addition to the facilities in i) above, i.e. 100 facilities in total;

        using a credible public online platform, with full facility transparency (i.e.  location and individual data of facilities) and covering at least the hazardous chemicals within the 11 priority groups of chemicals (8)

        

        2. APEO elimination policy.

        Inditex recognises the intrinsic hazardousness of all APEOs, and therefore acknowledges it is a priority to eliminate their use across its global supply chain. There are multiple supply-chain pathways for potential APEO contamination (including chemical formulations). Inditex will enhance both training and auditing of its supply-chain in conjunction with other global brands, as well as ensuring its suppliers have the latest information on APEOs,  highlighting where there is a risk that APEOs may enter into the undocumented contamination of chemical supplier formulations.

        In addition to these actions, Inditex will enforce its APEO ban with the following actions:

        i. initiate an investigation into the current compliance to this requirement, reporting the findings to the public and simultaneously strengthening its supplier legal agreement language to ensure only APEO-free chemical formulations are utilized by the end of April 2013,

        ii. work with its supply chain and other global industry leaders, to ensure the most current technological limits of detection are reflected via the lowest detectable limits within its testing regimes.

        

        3. Perfluorocarbon (PFC) elimination policy.

        In application of the precautionary principle, and recognizing that enough scientific evidence is available pointing towards a recognizable hazard posed by PFCs, Inditex commits to impose a ban on PFOS, PFOA, their salts and derivatives, and  telomeric alcohols by January 2013. This prohibition includes the manufacturing of any products Inditex sells.

        With respect to the use of PFCs, Inditex agrees to the following actions:

        i. Inditex commits to eliminate C8, C7, C6 PFC based substances in manufacturing, and in any of the products it sells no later than the end of 2013.

        ii. Inditex commits to work with suitable technical / scientific partners and stakeholders to find safer, non-fluorinated alternatives in the shortest timespan possible, with the goal of substituting all perfluorocarbon compounds with suitable, non-hazardous, non-fluorinated alternatives.

        iii.    The timelines for the elimination of all remaining PFCs will be as follows: elimination of 50% of all remaining PFCs (from the base of PFCs used as of 2012) used by January 2015; and the total elimination of all PFC use in manufacturing and in products by the end of 2015.

        The elimination of all PFC use by the products it sells will be supported by:

        i. A review of all products it produces to ensure there are no PFCs in the products we sell,

        ii. a rigorous system of control to ensure that no traces of PFCs find their way into its supply chain in line with the above.

        

        4. Targets for other hazardous chemicals.

        Inditex commits to regularly review the science of the chemicals used in the textiles/apparel industry and periodically update its chemical policy, at least annually, to further restrict or ban chemicals, as new evidence on their impact becomes available.

        In this context, its recognizes the need to not only report to the public the evidence of elimination of the 11 groups of hazardous chemicals identified as a priority but also set clear intermediate progress targets on the elimination of hazardous chemicals (beyond these 11 priority chemical groups) and the introduction of non-hazardous chemicals by 2015 on the road to elimination by 01 January 2020.

        Inditex will also ensure that it is part of an industry wide approach to ensure the use of chemicals in the products its sells and that is managed responsibly and in line with the above commitment, and in particular the intrinsic hazards approach. In line with this, Inditex commits to reinforce the work of the sectoral chemical inventory and hazardous substance black list, aiming to establish this inventory, and the black list, based on an intrinsically hazardous screening methodology, by no later than December 2013.

        The individual actions covered above will be reassessed by Inditex at regular intervals – at least annually.

        

        5. Further Actions.

        Within 8 weeks of the public release of this commitment, Inditex will publish further actions for its Individual Action Plan:

        Including a number of substitution case studies (e.g. where in the past, or currently, Inditex has substituted any of the 11 groups of hazardous chemicals as per below (8), with others non-hazardous chemicals) via a credible format (e.g. ‘Subsport system’).

      Download – Further actions included in the Individual Action Plan (updated as of 1st February 2013)

        ——————————————————————————————–

         (1) All hazardous chemicals means all those that show intrinsically hazardous properties: persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT); very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB); carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic for reproduction (CMR); endocrine disruptors (ED), or other properties of equivalent concern, (not just those that have been regulated or restricted in other regions). This will require establishing – ideally with other industry actors – a corresponding list of the hazardous chemicals concerned that will be regularly reviewed.

        (2) This means solutions are focused on elimination of use at source, not on end-of-pipe or risk management. This requires either substitution with non-hazardous chemicals or where necessary finding non- chemical alternative solutions, such as re-evaluating product design or the functional need for chemicals.        

        (3) This means taking preventive action before waiting for conclusive scientific proof regarding cause and effect between the substance (or activity) and the damage. It is based on the assumption that some hazardous substances cannot be rendered harmless by the receiving environment (i.e. there are no ‘environmentally acceptable’/’safe’ use or discharge levels) and that prevention of potentially serious or irreversible damage is required, even in the absence of full scientific certainty. The process of applying the Precautionary Principle must involve an examination of the full range of alternatives, including, where necessary, substitution through the development of sustainable alternatives where they do not already exist. The Precautionary Principle is applied across all products sold by Inditex (and any entities directed by, or licenced by the Inditex “Group” of entities).

        (4) Zero discharge means elimination of all releases, via all pathways of release, i.e. discharges, emissions and losses, from its supply chain and its products.  “Elimination” or “zero” means ‘not detectable, to the limits of current technology’, and only naturally occurring background levels are acceptable.

        (5) This means the commitment applies to the environmental practices of the entire company (group, and all entities it directs or licences) and for all products sold by Inditex or any of its subsidiaries. This includes all its suppliers or facilities horizontally across all owned brands and licensed companies as well as vertically down its supply chain.

        (6) Right to Know is defined as practices that allow members of the public access to environmental information – in this case specifically about the uses and discharges of chemicals based on reported quantities of releases of hazardous chemicals to the environment, chemical-by-chemical, facility-by-facility, at least year-by-year.

        (7) One generation is generally regarded as 20-25 years.

        (8) the 11 priority hazardous chemical groups are : 1. Alkylphenols 2. Phthalates 3.Brominated and chlorinated flame retardants 4. Azo dyes 5. Organotin compounds 6. Perfluorinated chemicals 7. Chlorobenzenes 8. Chlorinated solvents 9. Chlorophenols 10. Short chain chlorinated paraffins 11. Heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, mercury and chromium (VI).

Stay tuned in to see if they are able to succeed …

Be a Seed for Change

It’s the end of 2021, and while i have seen the new Zara petitions and signed a couple. I had my own experience with a company to remain unnamed that not only produce dodgy clothes i tried wearing the supposed 60% cotton and aside from an incredible awful odor even after washing the clothes the chemical stink while wearing them was unbearable.  I admit to knowing the chance of some issues were a possiblitity … uh wow wow wow

the 27th amendment


 

What is the 27th Amendment:

“No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.” –

See more at: http://constitution.laws.com/27th-amendment#sthash.XQKBlcAs.dpuf

Date Proposed:

The 27th Amendment was first proposed on September 25th, 1789

Date Passed:

The 27th Amendment was passed May 7th, 1992

President of the United States Bill Clinton was the President of the United States during the ratification of the 27th Amendment

Stipulations of the 27th Amendment The 27th

Amendment is the most recent constitutional amendment passed; as of 2011, there have been 27 Constitutional Amendments passed with regard to the Constitution of the United States of America

The 27th Amendment addresses the salary rate of members of Congress, which is comprised of a bicameral legislature – the Senate and the House of Representatives The 27th Amendment stipulates that members of the Congress are not permitted to adjust their respective wage earnings in the middle of a term; in the event of a proposed wage adjustment, members of Congress must address any or all concerns with regard to wage adjustment prior to the starting of a new Congressional term

27th Amendment Facts

The 27th Amendment has never been cited within a Supreme Court Hearing The 27th Amendment addresses the adjustment of costs of living with regard to inflation The 27th Amendment is considered to be the Constitutional Amendment with the longest duration of time between the initial proposal and subsequent ratification; the 22nd Amendment is considered to maintain the second-longest duration of 4 years between proposal and passing

States Ratifying the 27th Amendment

1. Alabama 2. Alaska 3. Arizona 4. Arkansas 5. California 6. Colorado 7. Connecticut 8. Delaware 9. Florida 10. Georgia 11. Hawaii 12. Idaho 13. Illinois 14. Indiana 15. Iowa 16. Kansas 17. Kentucky 18. Louisiana 19. Maine 20. Maryland 21. Michigan 22. Minnesota 23. Missouri 24. Montana 25. Nevada 26. New Hampshire 27. New Jersey 28. New Mexico 29. North Carolina 30. North Dakota 31. Ohio 32. Oklahoma 33. Oregon 34. Rhode Island 35. South Carolina 36. South Dakota 37. Tennessee 38. Texas 39. Utah 40. Vermont 41. Virginia 42. Washington 43. West Virginia 44. Wisconsin 45. Wyoming

States Not Participatory in the Ratification of the 27th Amendment

1. Massachusetts 2. Mississippi 3. Nebraska 4. New York 5. Pennsylvania – See more at: http://constitution.laws.com/27th-amendment#sthash.XQKBlcAs.dpuf

Black History~ Beyond The Emancipation Proclamation — The 13th Amendment a journey in American History …from Lonnie Bunch,musem director,historian,author,lecturer


a repost from 2010  
National Museum of African American History and Culture Lonnie Bunch, museum director, historian, lecturer, and author, is proud to present A Page From Our American Story, a regular on-line series for Museum supporters. It will showcase individuals and events in the African American experience, placing these stories in the context of a larger story — our American story.

A Page From Our American Story

13th Amendment to the
Constitution of the United States

13th Amendment to US Constitution
Congress, Wednesday, February 01, 1865 (Joint Resolution Submitting

13th Amendment to the States; signed by Abraham Lincoln and Congress)
The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress Series 3. General Correspondence. 1837-1897.
Section 1: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2:

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

William Seward
William Seward
(19th century photograph)

On December 18, 1865, 145 years ago, Secretary of State William Seward announced to the world that the United States had constitutionally abolished slavery — the 13th Amendment had been ratified.

The ratification of the 13th Amendment, the first of the Reconstruction Amendments, was truly the beginning of the end of one our nation’s ugliest and saddest eras. Historically, however, it has always been overshadowed by President Abraham Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation.”

While Lincoln’s initial pronouncement to his Cabinet on September 22, 1862, formally tied slavery to the Civil War, he repeatedly stated that preserving the Union was his primary objective — not ending slavery.

Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America
Abraham Lincoln,
16th President of the
United States of America.
Library of Congress
Prints and Photographs
online catalog
.

In essence, Lincoln’s proclamation — officially signed and issued on January 1, 1863 — freed only slaves in Confederate states where he and the Union Army could not force the issue, but allowed slavery to continue in states where the Union could impose its will.

The Emancipation Proclamation was a work of political irony. Lincoln understood slavery was wrong, but did not want to anger the border states that had remained supportive of the Union.

However, the Emancipation Proclamation served as a catalyst for abolitionists in Congress to start working in earnest to end slavery in every state.

It began on December 14, 1863, when House Republican James Ashley of Ohio introduced an amendment to ban slavery throughout the United States. Later that month, James Wilson of Iowa introduced another amendment calling for an end to slavery.

Less than a month later, on January 11, 1864, Missouri Senator John Henderson, a member of the War Democrats — Democrats who supported the Civil War and opposed the Copperheads and Peace Democrats — submitted a joint resolution also wanting an amendment to end slavery.

Now, as civil war ravaged the nation, the legislative battle on Capitol Hill to end the injustice of slavery and treat African Americans as equal citizens was launched on two fronts — the House of Representatives and the US Senate.

On February 10, 1864, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed and brought the 13th Amendment to the full Senate. While in the House, one week after the Senate was moving ahead, Representatives took their first vote on the measure. The House vote well short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass, and it was clear the anti-slavery supporters in the House were in for a long struggle.

On the other hand, the Senate moved quickly. Senators wasted little time following the Judiciary Committee’s recommendation for passage. On April 8, 1864, the amendment was overwhelmingly passed, 38-6, eight votes more than constitutionally required.

Four months after the first House vote, in June, 1864, the House tried for a second time to pass the amendment. The vote was closer, but again the abolitionists failed to get the two-thirds majority they needed for passage.

Nicolay telegram announcing passage of 13th Amendment
John G. Nicolay to Abraham Lincoln,
Tuesday, January 31, 1865
(Telegram reporting passage of 13th Amendment
by Congress). The Abraham Lincoln Papers
at the Library of Congress. Series 1.
General Correspondence. 1833-1916.

The year drew to a close with Lincoln’s reelection. Yet the House had failed to produce a bill abolishing slavery. Lincoln’s patience with the House was reaching its end. At the same time, abolitionists declared his reelection as a mandate from the people to end slavery. More pressure was brought to bear on the hold-outs in the House to pass the bill.

At last, on January 31, 1865, the House passed the 13th Amendment. Though not needed, as a symbolic gesture of approval, President Lincoln signed the document and then sent it to the states for ratification.

Initially, ratification seemed a given. By the end of March, 19 states had voted for the amendment. Then the process bogged down, and by April 14, 1865, the date President Lincoln was assassinated, only 21 states were on board.

Suddenly, Vice President Andrew Johnson, himself a War Democrat from Tennessee, was in the White House. Johnson was staunchly pro-Union, but he was less passionate about ending slavery. At this point the question was how much support would he provide toward speeding the end of slavery? Abolitionists were relieved when Johnson used his power as the Chief Executive to force Southern states to ratify the amendment as part of his Reconstruction policy.

On December 6, 1865, nearly twelve months after President Lincoln had ceremoniously signed the document, Georgia became the 27th state to ratify the 13th Amendment. The three-quarters of the states needed to make the amendment law had finally been reached, and shortly afterward Seward made his historic announcement.

Sadly, life for Black Americans did not meet the promise of freedom. Southern states adopted “Black Codes” and “Jim Crow laws” — rules and restrictions that by-passed constitutional requirements — and continued to treat African Americans as second class citizens.

The tumult and grassroots uprising that eventually spawned such famous legislation as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a subject all its own. Today, however, let us remember the tremendous stride that America took 145 years ago with the ratification of the 13th Amendment. Together with the 14th Amendment that afforded African Americans citizenship, due process, and equal rights under the law and the 15th Amendment that gave African Americans the right to vote, a constitutional backbone was provided for what would become one of America’s greatest revolutions — the Civil Rights Movement.

Lonnie Bunch, Director All the best,
Lonnie Bunch
Director

21st Century … Colonialism


Residual Colonialism In The 21St Century …

  The 21st century deserves better. More 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”.

    ♦ ♦ ♦

    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