Remarks at Organizational Meeting of the Special Committee on Decolonization
Excellencies, Distinguished delegates,
It is an honor, in my capacity as President pro tempore, to open the 2017 session of the Special Committee. As this is the first time I address this body, let me express from the outset my sincere commitment to the decolonization agenda, one of the defining mandates of the United Nations.
Allow me a very emotional, personal comment. I am Portuguese. I was born and I lived my youth during the Salazar dictatorship. The Salazar dictatorship oppressed my country, and simultaneously oppressed the countries and the peoples – our sister peoples – in Africa and in Asia with a completely absurd colonial policy that Salazar intended to make last forever, forcing a bloody and terrible war to the peoples of Angola and Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau. That has created a strong bond between the Portuguese democrats and many of my friends and comrades at the time have been arrested, have been tortured or living in exile, and the liberation movements in Angola, in Mozambique and in Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde.