“All Peoples have the Right to Self Determination” – United Nations

11 Oct

In concluding its debate on the remaining Non-Self Governing Territories, the UN’s Fourth Committee yesterday agreed to forward five consensus draft texts to the General Assembly, covering the questions of Western Sahara, Gibraltar, New Caledonia and Tokelau.

At the same time, the Fourth Committee reaffirmed the inalienable right of all people to self-determination and independence, as well as their right to enjoy and dispose of their natural resources in their best interest.

The draft decision on the question of Gibraltar, the General Assembly is being asked to urge the Governments of Spain and the United Kingdom to “reach a definitive solution to the dispute”.

Before taking action on the texts, delegations during the wrap-up of the general debate praised the work of the Special Committee on Decolonization —known informally as the “C-24” — and called for increased dynamism and a redoubling of efforts with regard to completing the decolonization process of the remaining Territories

The representative of the United Kingdom responded to remarks made by the delegations of Paraguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay and Costa Rico, saying that her country had no doubt about its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.  The United Kingdom attached great importance to the principle of the right to self-determination.  There could be no negotiations on sovereignty unless and until such a time as the islanders so wished.  The relationship with its overseas territories was a modern one, and it was up to the inhabitants of those territories to determine whether or not they wished to retain a link to the United Kingdom. The peoples of the Falkland Islands had expressed their wishes clearly when they visited the United Nations.  They had stressed that the right to self-determination was a universal human right, and made it clear that they, like any other people, were entitled to exercise that right.

She reiterated that the Falkland Islands had no indigenous people, and that no population was removed prior to the United Kingdom settling there.  The people of the Falkland Islands were and always had been the only people of the Falkland Islands, and she lamented measures by Argentina that unlawfully aimed to limit transport and block access to free trade.  The right to make use of a population’s own resources was an integral part of the right to self-determination, as people should not be deprived of the ability to freely dispense of their natural wealth and resources.  The United Kingdom remained fully committed to defending the rights of the people of the Falkland Islands to determine their own future.

In reply, the representative of Argentina said that he regretted the United Kingdom’s irresponsibility in creating expectations among the inhabitants of those islands.



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