'Finishing the Job': The UN Special Committee on Decolonization and the politics of self-governance

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This article examines the modern day role and purpose of the UN Special Committee on Decolonization. Since its establishment in the 1960s the Committee has helped numerable former colonies achieve independence. Today, with very few 'colonised' Non-Self-Governing Territories remaining its work appears almost complete. However, serious flaws have always pervaded its decolonisation strategy; which are now more apparent than ever. The Committee retains narrow and outdated understandings of colonialism and, as a result, fails to recognise how widespread and pervasive global colonial forces remain. This makes its goal of universal decolonisation both unsatisfactory and misguided. The Committee's problematic approach towards decolonisation stems from its participation within the 'North-South Theatre', in which antagonism is perpetuated between the world's developed and less developed states. The paper argues that the Committee has not prioritised colonised peoples in the way it has always claimed, but instead worked principally in the interests of itself and its members. © 2013 Copyright Southseries Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1193-1208
Number of pages16
JournalThird World Quarterly
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


  • United Nations
  • Decolonisation
  • Colonialism
  • Self-governance

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