Falklanders’ Rights Challenged

10 Jun

As preparations gear up for Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez, to go to the United Nations next week in an attempt to bring more political weight before the Decolonisation Committee’s consideration of the Falkland Islands, a number of other Argentine politicians are also attempting to raise the heat.

Alberto Asseff, a Deputy for Buenos Aires is one. In an interview this week he addressed the issue of the Falkland Islanders’ self-determination; “England talks about self-determination of the island people and we talk of territorial integration following the mutilation of part of our territory when England illegally usurped the Falkland Islands in 1833. This is a case of territorial integration and not of self-determination of the people.”

“On the other hand, if it were a case of self-determination of the people we should urge Britain to lift the barriers that prevent  Argentines living in the Falkland Islands. Argentines cannot enter nor settle in the Falkland Islands.”

“All this is a forgery on the part of England that searches to justify its plan of having one foot in the South Atlantic because there are riches in hydro carbons, mineral riches, and in addition there are the waters of the Antarctic. The English objective is to stay in the South Atlantic with plans for 50 or 100 years ahead.”

“When we talk about this subject we are not talking strictly Argentine sovereignty but we are thinking in the context of an integrated South America. So Brazil, who has understood the subject very well, knows that the problem of militarization and an English presence in the South Atlantic is a threat to all South America, even to the natural resources of the Brazil in the Amazon. Are there nuclear weapons or weapons of war on the part of the English in Falkland Islands? Of course there is a militaristic nuclearization of the South Atlantic by England. There is a nuclear submarine and it is possible that nuclear weapons are there. We face the violation of treaties which declared South America a nuclear weapons exclusion zone.”

Following the decision over Kosovo, there is little doubt now that a people’s right to self-determination, as enshrined in the UN’s Charter, trumps any suggestion of ‘territorial integrity’. Not that Argentina ever managed to integrate the Falklands into its territory. The archipelago was disputed between Spain and Britain after 1766 and the two nations came close to war over the islands in 1770. Spain eventually recognised British sovereignty in 1863. A few Argentines went to East Falkland in the 1820’s, with their access authorised by the Treaty of 1825 but Argentina’s first attempt to absorb the Falklands into its territory was not until 1829.

Britain objected and a trespassing armed force was ejected in 1833, just 3 months after they’d arrived. Argentina’s second attempt was in 1982 and led to the Falklands War. President Kirchner is hoping to gain some political capital by addressing her country’s spurious claims to the Decolonisation Committee on the 30th anniversary of Argentina’s surrender on June 14th, 1982.

Contrary to Deputy Asseff’s allegation, it is the United Nations that restricts immigration to non-self governing territories such as the Falkland Islands.

UN Resolution 35/118 of 1980 adopted a ‘Plan of Action for the Full Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples’ which included Annex 9; ‘Member States shall adopt the necessary measures to discourage or prevent the systematic influx of outside immigrants and settlers into Territories under colonial domination, which disrupts the demographic composition of those Territories and may constitute a major obstacle to the genuine exercise of the right to self-determination and independence by the people of those Territories.’


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