REPORT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL
“THE QUESTION OF REPARATIONS FOR DAMAGES CAUSED BY ColONIAliSM AND AFTER-EFFECTS OF WAR”
TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS
OUAGADOUGOU – BURKINA FASO, 28 JUNE – 1 JULY 1999
Quite a non-negligible number of third countries are still suffering from the after-effects of the colonialism which had raided their territories and resources, left behind untold tragedies, and made them prey to poverty, ignorance and disease and an easy target for debt-burdens, in addition to the exactions perpetrated by the colonialist powers which looted the cultural riches such as antiquities and manuscripts and planted wide expenses of the colonized countries with anti-personnel land mines which have claimed so many innocent lives.
- The OIV has kept track of this important issue and included it for the first time in the agenda of the 7th ICFM pursuant to a note presented by the delegation of the Great Socialist People’s libyan Arab Jamahiriya, explaining the size of the human and material losses sustained as a result of the Italian colonialism. The 7th ICFM adopted resolution 2/7-P on the subject and subsequent Islamic Conferences adopted other resolutions include 14/8-P, 26/11-P and 29/14-P.
- The international community represented by the United Nations had recognized the seriousness of the situation in libya at that time, and decided to table it for discussion before the international organisation. The Secretary General of the United Nations submitted a detailed report on the situation in libya, pursuant to Resolution No.389 of the 5th Session which was held on 15 December 1950 concerning the war-damage to which libyan soil was subjected. Over and above the devastation occasioned to many private properties during the 1940-1943 period, the Secretary General confirmed in his report that libya, a former Italian colony, was the theatre of violent military operations during the Second World War, which resulted in a great loss of lives and property and caused the country untold damages.
- When Britain and France, occupied libya and administered it, neither of them made the required financial appropriations to reconstruct what the war had destroyed, and when the future of the colony was discussed, the two powers took minimum maintenance measures to ensure the running of the administration, while no compensation was extended to the libyan people for the reconstruction of their destroyed property.
- Based on the report of the U.N. envoy sent to libya to study the situation and assess the physical damage of the war, the UN Secretary General estimated the damage in Tripoli and Cyrenaica alone at 12.5 million pounds sterling. The UN Secretary General pointed out that the information as reported by the Special Envoy was inadequate owing to the destruction of numerous documents and the non-existence of specialized personnel capable of making an inventory of all the war damage. The Socialist People’’ libyan Arab Jamahirya, believing in its right, and the right of all peoples to obtain a fair compensation for the damage they have sustained as a result of colonialism and war, made numerous contacts with the parties which had caused this damage and at bilateral level, tried to persuade them to recognize its right to compensation for the damage during the colonization period, but to no avail. libya however resorted eventually to the international fora to enlist their support for its just claims as if persistent bilateral approaches with the concerned former colonial parties failed to achieve recognition of the Jamahiriya’s right to appropriate reparation for the damages it had sustained.
- libya’s efforts have borne fruit in this respect as the UN General Assembly adopted several resolutions asserting the Jamahiriya’s right to compensation for the said damage and its right to claim appropriate compensation from the states which stand behind these losses to, including financial coverage for the mien clearing operations and submit the maps of the mined areas to the competent libyan authorities. Among these resolutions are Resolution 3455 (D/30) of 1975, Resolution 31/111 of 1976, Resolution 32/168 of 1977, Resolution 35/71 of 1980, Resolution 36/188 of 1988, Resolution 37/215 of 1982, Resolution 38/162 of 1983, and Resolution 39/167 of 1984.
- On the other hand, the Non-aligned Movement adopted several similar resolutions including Resolution 32 of the 5th Summit Conference of Non-aligned countries held in Colombo from 16 to 19 August 1976, on the after-effects of wars, and compensation for the period of colonialism and the declaration of the 9th Summit Conference of Non-aligned countries held in Belgrade from 4 to 7 September 1989.
- All these resolutions confirm the justness of the issue under consideration and urged the warring countries in the Second World War and of those which had colonized other countries to promptly implement those resolutions and acknowledge the colonized countries right and offer them compensation for their losses.
- The colonial powers committed at that time countless inhuman acts. The Jamahiriya among many other countries has continued to suffer from the effects of these crimes particularly the issue of the anti-personnel mines, planted by them, which renders these countries liable for the cost of removing the mines they had left.
- Ever since the subject of reparation for the damages caused by colonization was included as agenda in Islamic Conferences both at the Summit and Foreign Ministers levels adopted several resolutions on the matter. And in addition to reiterating the provisions of these resolutions, the Eighth Islamic Summit Conference and the 25th ICFM expressed their condemnation of colonialism in all its forms as an act of aggression which contravenes all international charters and the principles of international law. Both Conferences confirmed that the effects of colonialism have hindered the economic and social development plans in the developing countries, and are still hindering the development and progress of those countries. The Conference reaffirmed the absolute right of all Member States that had suffered under the yoke of colonialism to take all necessary measures in order to obtain just reparations for all the material and human damage and losses they had sustained as a result of colonialism or foreign aggression.
- The Secretary General is of the view that the OIC Member States may continue to coordinate their efforts in this respect at all appropriate international fora.
- The Secretary General invites the States that stand behind these damages to adopt immediate active measures to meet the claims of the Great Jamahiriya, and reaffirms the latter’s right to obtain reparation for all the human and material losses it sustained as a result of its colonization.
- The Secretary General presents this report to the Twenty-sixth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers for consideration and appropriate decision.