Having announced that a referendum on their future will be held in 2013, the Falkland Islanders’ are now preparing for the complicated process of selecting the questions to be asked; and ensuring that the whole process is seen to be balanced, fair and unbiased.
The referendum was announced just before the United Nation’s decolonisation sub-Committee met in June this year for its annual consideration of the Falkland’s Question. As part of the process of overseeing a legitimate referendum, the Falkland Islands Government will try to recruit independent observers and it would be unthinkable that they would not immediately consider asking the members of the Decolonisation sub-Committee whose role it is to promote self-determination for all the non-self governing territories on its list.
A refusal by the Decolonisation sub-Committee to assist, would be viewed as an abject failure within the United Nations and raise questions about the role of the Committee.
The Falkland Islands have been British sovereign territory since 1765, although Spain maintained a claim to one of the islands until 1863. Argentina insists that it inherited this claim on its independence in 1816. The Decolonisation Committee has become sidelined over recent decades having failed to successfully oversee a single decolonisation in the last 20 years. Its role and budget are currently subject to close scrutiny and it is unlikely to be granted a fourth decade to achieve the objectives of the UN.