The Azerbaijan State News Agency

POLITICS

“Decolonization: Awakening of the Renaissance” international conference wraps up in Istanbul

Baku, February 24, AZERTAC

Organized by the Baku Initiative Group (BIG), the “Decolonization: Awakening of the Renaissance” international conference wrapped up on Saturday in Istanbul, Türkiye.

Addressing the conference, BIG Executive Director Abbas Abbasov said that a total of six international conferences had been conducted by the Baku Initiative Group over the past period.

“The primary objective of these conferences was to amplify the voices of people in countries affected by colonialism to the global community. As the Baku Initiative Group, we have successfully achieved this goal, enabling those impacted by colonialism to express their concerns through the established platforms. We have managed to inform the world community about the developments taking place in these regions, as well as the heavy consequences of the French colonial policy,” Abbas Abbasov underlined.

In his remarks, UN expert on Governance Carlyle G. Corbin expressed his gratitude to Azerbaijan, as well as the Baku Initiative Group for delivering the voices of the people living in countries affected by colonialism to the international community.

The conference also featured the screening of a video highlighting the Baku Initiative Group’s activities, followed by panel discussions.

The panel sessions featured discussions on various themes.

Following the panel discussions, the participants addressed an open letter to French President Emmanuel Macron.

Referring to the resolutions of the UN General Assembly on decolonization, the letter underlined that despite the adoption of those documents more than 60 years ago, the peoples living in Corsica, Melanesia, Polynesia, the Caribbean and the Antilles still suffer from French colonialism and neocolonialism.

The letter highlighted various crimes committed by France on those islands, as well as the occupation of these lands by the French state, the deliberate creation of obstacles to the development of the local economy, the poisoning of the local population with pesticides and the population’s suffering from its consequences, the forced emigration of people, the illegal resettlement of these areas which is still ongoing, the colonial judicial systems, as well as other facts.

The participants demanded that Emmanuel Macron stop the illegal actions of the French government, stressing the importance of sending the UNESCO mission to those regions to prepare a report on the state of cultural and religious heritage in these areas. They also called on to send the OSCE mission to the colonial countries to study the state of the environment, economy, human rights and the rights of the indigenous population.

The conference brought together a total of 50 representatives from 13 countries and 5 international organizations, the vast majority of which represent the overseas territories that are still under French colonial rule such as New Caledonia, French Polynesia, French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Wallis and Futuna, Corsica, as well as the Union of the Channel Islands (France still occupies the island of Mayotte, which is a territory of the Union of Channel Islands).

The Baku Initiative Group was established by participants of the round table on “Towards the complete elimination of colonialism” held in Baku on July 6, 2023, as part of the ministerial meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) chaired by the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Gunel Karatepe

Special correspondent

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