In the UN Charter, a non-self-governing territory is defined as a territory “whose people have not yet attained a full measure of self-government.”
Chapter XI of the UN Charter - the Declaration regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories - provides that Member States administering (occupying) territories that have not attained self-government recognize “that the interests of the inhabitants of these Territories are paramount” and accept as a “sacred trust” the obligation to promote their well-being.
Chapter XI urges those powers concerned to take effective measures to safeguard and guarantee the inalienable rights of the peoples of the non-self-governing territories to their natural resources, including land, and to establish and maintain control over the future development of those resources, and requested them to take all necessary steps to protect the property rights of the peoples of those Territories.
Administering powers, in addition to ensuring the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the peoples, undertake to assist them in developing self-government and democratic political institutions. Administering powers have an obligation to transmit regularly to the secretary-general information on the economic, social and educational conditions in the territories under their administration.
Chapter XI also urged all states, directly and through their action in the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system, to provide moral and material assistance to the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories.
From 1960 to 2002, 54 territories attained self-government. At present, 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories remain from the original list of 71 in 1946.
The UN General Assembly, by its resolution 54/91 (1999), requested the annual observance of the Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories, on 25–31 May.