A round table discussion on “Towards Complete Elimination of Colonialism” was organized by the Center of Analysis of International Relations (AIR Center) on the sidelines of the Ministerial Meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Baku on 6 July 2023.
The panelists from Martinique, French Guiana, New Caledonia and French Polynesia, as well as representatives of local NGOs and MPs of Azerbaijani Parliament (Milli Majlis) attended the side-event and discussed the colonial situations in their countries, their fights for more justice and freedom.
Farid Shafiyev, the AIR Center Chairman, highlighted in his opening remarks that Azerbaijan has suffered from a confrontation of global powers. Azerbaijan, he said, was once a part of an empire, and the consequences of the imperial policies can still be felt in the South Caucasus. Dr. Shafiyev continued, saying that many of the countries represented at the event are victims of colonial policy: “African and other representatives raised a number of issues here as well. I believe that every country has the right to discuss its problems.” He added that the AIR Center will continue to provide a platform for discussions over France’s colonial policies in the future.
During the panels, Roch Wamytan, President of the Congress of New Caledonia, Jean-Victor Castor, Deputy in the National Legislative Assembly of France and member of the Decolonization and Social Emancipation Movement, a pro-independence party in French Guiana, Francis Carole, Chairman of the Party for the Liberation of Martinique (Le PALIMA), Ilan Kiloe, Programme Manager Political & Security Affairs at Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat, Claudette Duhamel, Lawyer and Vice-President of MIR and other guests discussed the consequences of the French colonial policy, its effects on the social, demographic, and spiritual life of the peoples, ways to eliminate the modern colonial policy, de facto existing on the African and other continents.
At the end of the round table, the participants adopted a communique. By the initiative of the Center of Analysis of International Relations, supporters of Martinique’s independence, French Guiana, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, and the secretariat of the GFLM alliance (Groupe Fer de Lance Mélanésien) reaffirmed and emphasized the Non-Aligned Movement’s principled position in the fight against colonial and neo-colonial practices. Also, the parties agreed to establish the Baku Initiative Group to oppose French colonialism.