British oil companies accused of acting, “illegally and clandestinely” in Falklands waters

5 Jun

With nine days to go before the United Nation’s Decolonization Committee indulges in its annual consideration of the ‘Falklands Question’, the rhetoric from Argentina continues with a repeat of the accusation that the British oil companies operating in Falkland Islands waters are doing so “illegally and clandestinely”.

Yet again threatening to take these companies before an Argentine court, the government of President Cristina Fernandez appears to be making noise for the sole purpose of domestic consumption. None of the companies involved in oil exploration within British waters have any assets within Argentina, and quite how they could be sued is not immediately apparent.

The British Government was quick, however, to offer its full support; “It is our firm conviction that the Falkland Islands Government is entitled to develop both fishery and hydrocarbons industries within its own waters, without interference from Argentina. Falklands’ hydrocarbons exploration is a legitimate commercial venture.We unequivocally support the right of the Falkland Islanders to develop their natural resources for their own economic benefit. This right is an integral part of their right of self-determination, which is expressly contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  All hydrocarbons activities on the continental shelf of the Falkland Islands are regulated by legislation of the Falkland Islands Government, in strict accordance with the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea.”

After the founding Charter, the most important UN Resolution concerning non-self-governing territories such as the Falkland Islands is 1514. This supports the British view, and states, inter alia;

“Conscious of the need for the creation of conditions of stability and well-being and peaceful and friendly relations based on respect for the principles of equal rights and self-determination of all peoples, and of universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion, …

Affirming that peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law, …..

Convinced that all peoples have an inalienable right to complete freedom, the exercise of their sovereignty and the integrity of their national territory,

Declares that:

1. The subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights, is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and is an impediment to the promotion of world peace and co-operation.

2. All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

5. Immediate steps shall be taken, in Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories or all other territories which have not yet attained independence, to transfer all powers to the peoples of those territories, without any conditions or reservations, in accordance with their freely expressed will and desire, without any distinction as to race, creed or colour, in order to enable them to enjoy complete independence and freedom.

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