Spare a thought for the colonised

Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic President Brahim Ghali.

Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic President Brahim Ghali during President William Ruto’s swearing-in at Kasarani Stadium, Nairobi, on September 13, 2022. Western Sahara was under the control of Spain until early 1976. Today, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic controls about 20 per cent of it with Morocco occupying and administering the remainder.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

The decolonisation of peoples is celebrated as the United Nation’s first great success. Today, less than two million people live in colonisation—down from a third of the world’s population in 1945, when the UN was founded. 

Every May 25-31 is the International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing (NSG) Territories. An NSG territory is one whose people have not attained full independence. The UN lists 17 such territories. 

Western Sahara is the only NSG territory in Africa and, in Europe, Gibraltar. The Atlantic and Caribbean have nine: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Montserrat, Saint Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands and United States Virgin Islands. The Pacific has six: American Samoa, French Polynesia, Guam, New Caledonia, Pitcairn and Tokelau.

Of the 17 NSG territories, the United Kingdom administers 10, the US three and France two. Western Sahara is the largest NSG territory in both land mass and population; the renowned Gibraltar is the smallest in square kilometres whereas little-known Pitcairn has the least population, of only 46 people.

Western Sahara was under the control of Spain until early 1976. Today, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic controls about 20 per cent of it with Morocco occupying and administering the remainder.

There is an ongoing dispute over the sovereignty of Malvinas between the UK and Argentina. The territory is essentially under British control but Argentina lays claim to the land.

International days and weeks are meant to raise awareness on issues of concern, mobilise resources and goodwill to address global problems and celebrate the achievements of the community of nations. Let us spare a thought for NSG territories.

Mr Ngolo is an ICT professional. [email protected]

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