Yesterday a group of Argentine academics released a document calling for the Government of Cristina Fernandez to recognise that the Falkland Islanders have rights; “The inhabitants of the Falklands must be recognized… Respect their way of life implies the abdication of an intention to impose a sovereignty, citizenship and a government who they do not want.”
The 17 academics and journalists had called a press conference to give their views on the subject of the Falkland Islands and Argentina’s sovereignty claim, although this was cancelled at the last moment due to a tragedy elsewhere in the country. The document was released however, called ‘Falklands: An Alternative View.’
Signed by Beatriz Sarlo, Emilio de Ipola, Rafael Filippelli, Roberto Gargarella, Fernando Iglesias, Santiago Kovadloff, Gustavo Noriega, Marcos Novaro, José Miguel Onaindia, Vicente Palermo, Eduardo Antin (Quintin), Luis Alberto Romero, Hilda Sabato, John Joseph Sebreli, Daniel Sabsay and journalists José “Pepe” and Jorge Lanata Eliaschev, the booklet argues that Argentina has weakened its position in the archipelago with its strategy of isolating and ignoring the Islanders.
Immediately upon its release however, the work was attacked by Senator Daniel Filmus, who asserted that those calling for recognition of the islanders were, themselves, opposing; ” .. a resolution passed by the United Nations which, since 1965, has recommended Argentina and Great Britain continue with the sovereignty negotiations”, despite the fact that there are currently no ‘live’ Resolutions concerning Argentina’s claim. The Senator appeared to be referring to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2065 of 1965 which requested negotiations. These were interrupted when Argentina invaded the British Overseas Territory in 1982, and it’s relevance is questionable.
Filmus added that the Government; “.. respects the islanders but considers it should negotiate with the occupying country. The position of Argentina is to respect the islanders in their way of life, their values, culture and citizenship but what is in no way expressed is that the negotiation over sovereignty will be held with the islanders, who are a transplanted population, but instead, with those who are occupying the territory, and those are the British.”
He remarked that “when the United Nations talk of self-determination, they refer to original populations”.
There is no qualification at all in the UN’s Charter on the subject of self-determination, although Argentina desperately wishes that there were. The Charter gives its objective as being; ‘ To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.’
Subsequent Resolutions have reaffirmed that the Falkland Islanders, as a people of a non-self governing territory, have the right to determine their own future. The British Government recognises this, and is acting accordingly by refusing to discuss the issue of sovereignty without the Islanders’ say-so.