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Fourth Committee


Against the backdrop of profound anxiety wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic and escalating global challenges, the President of the General Assembly today urged Member States to “leave behind the uglier aspects of our history, from conflict to colonialism” and unite around a better future, as the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) began its annual general debate.


United Nations initiatives to counter disinformation — especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic — and to provide populations around the globe with reliable and evidence-based content, were among several topics spotlighted today as the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) took up questions relating to information.


Petitioners speaking today on the question of Western Sahara cited court judgments and advisory opinions on Morocco’s relationship to the Territory, while others continued to sound alarms over human rights violations reportedly committed there, as the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) concluded its hearing of petitioners on decolonization matters.


Petitioners addressing the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) took a range of positions on the long‑standing question of Western Sahara today, with some decrying the situation as a “rationalization of colonialism”, even as others cited high turnout in a recent legislative election as evidence of the population’s willingness to take part in Morocco’s democratic processes.


The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) today heard introductory statements and held interactive discussions on the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the Special Committee tasked with investigating Israeli practices affecting human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, while also beginning its consideration of agenda items related to the issue of decolonization.


The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) approved today its work programme for the seventy‑sixth session of the General Assembly, which covers topics ranging from decolonization of the 17 remaining Non‑Self‑Governing Territories and United Nations peacekeeping operations, to the plight of Palestine refugees and Israel’s practices in the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories.