INDIA AND UNITED NATIONS
STRUGGLE AGAINST COLONIALISM
The purposes of the UN Charter include promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion. This was by no means an easy quest. In 1945, when the UN Charter was signed, more than 750 million people lived in colonies. A half century later, the number is only about 1.3 million. India was in the forefront of the struggle against colonialism, apartheid and racial discrimination - a struggle that has transformed the lives of millions of people in Africa and Asia.
The Charter provisions on Non-Self Governing Territories were given a new thrust when the UN adopted the landmark 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. India was a co-sponsor of the Declaration. The Declaration solemnly proclaimed the necessity of bringing to a speedy and unconditional end, colonialism in all its forms and manifestations.
The following year, the Special Committee on the Implementation of the Declaration on Decolonization was established to study, investigate and recommend action to bring an end to colonialism. India was elected the first Chairman of the Decolonization Committee. As a member of the Committee of 24, as it came to be called, India has ceaselessly struggled for an end to colonialism. India also took up the decolonization issue in the Trusteeship Committee, the Special Committee on Non-self Governing Territories and the Fourth Committee.
India supported numerous resolutions in the UN fora on decolonization. India has also raised the issue in NAM and Commonwealth fora. For coming generations, colonialism may be a part of history: new challenges of tomorrow have to be faced. However, it was the struggle against colonialism, successfully waged in solidarity by the Afro-Asian countries, that has brought them to a stage where they can set the goals of economic and social development for their societies.
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