Tag Archives: C24

UN’s Fourth Committee Consider the Falklands – no action pending

18 Oct

The United Nation’s Fourth Committee opened its annual consideration on the issue of decolonization on October 7th and concluded on the 14th.

As with previous years the Committee had before it the Reports of its sub-Committee, the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples – known informally as the Special Committee or the C24.

Again, in a repetition of the course of business that takes place every year, Argentina and its allies were heard to repeat the mantra that the Falkland Islands were in some way a special case despite the UN’s General Assembly never having said any such thing. Those representatives were also at some pains to include along with the Falklands – South Georgia and the South Shetland Islands, together with the more recently added “surrounding maritime areas.” In fact so much effort was spent in the attempt to include these locations, none of which fall onto any UN list for decolonization, that the official Press Release from the Committee for the first day had to be withdrawn and re-done to Argentina’s specifications.

In particular, the input from Chile had to be largely re-written as, according to the first press report, her representative had failed to mention the Falklands Islands, etc, etc, at all.

The most important statement to come out of the Fourth Committee’s deliberations over the week was the affirmation that the process of decolonization was both “irresistible and irreversible,” although typically Argentina attempted to distance the Falkland Islands, etc., etc., from the decolonization process even though the Fourth Committee, and indeed the UN, has no remit to resolve any sovereignty dispute. Argentina appears to like the decolonization forum while trying to convince the world that the Falklands should not actually be considered a case for decolonization.

It seems that yet again they failed. At the conclusion on Monday the Fourth Committee reaffirmed that there was no alternative to the principle of self-determination before forwarding 11 draft- Resolutions to the General Assembly for adoption, none of which directly concerned the Falkland Islands, although some of the more general expressions may be applied.

Having voted in favour, Argentina, as every year, then attempted to say that its vote did not recognise the Falkland Islanders as having any right to self-determination despite the fact that this is now recognised as a fundamental Human Right. They even referred to the long-dead Resolution 2065 which had been killed off in 1982 – by Argentina’s invasion of the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, etc., etc., etc.

Another year gone.

http://www.un.org/en/decolonization/comm4_2013.shtml

Referendum – a game changer

7 Apr

Mike Summers, speaking on his return from his United States tour, told the Falkland Islands Radio Service that the American Congressmen that he had met talked about the Falklands Referendum being a “game changer.” BA Herald Editor

Summers, a Member of the Falklands’ Legislative Assembly, reviewed the trip which he’d made with Sharon Halford; ” We had a wide range of discussions on the first Monday in the States. I stopped in Miami for a while and talked to some cruise companies there … and also met with Congressman Mario Dules Belar who has a key interest in the cruise industry. ..  we had some very good discussions and confirmations from a couple of cruise vessel companies that they are reinstating their business in the Falklands again next year.

Sharon Halford carried on to Atlanta to do some interviews with CNN and I was diverted to New York so Sharon also dealt with the announcement of the results of the referendum in Washington on Tuesday and did all the media work there.

Wednesday was a key day in Washington. We had a whole series of meetings with various Congressmen and we met people in important positions in the Western Hemisphere Committee, people in the Foreign Affairs Committee and others who we knew from other activities. And without exception the Congressmen were saying that the referendum changed the game in the Falklands.

It changes the way that people should be seeing the Falklands and it brings another clear dynamic to these discussions they were very supportive of our right to self-determination. And I am not sure if you have heard or it has been announced that there is a Motion now on the floor of Congress supporting the right to self-determination for the people of the Falkland Islands.

Thursday was a day back in New York where we met with UN Officials. We had a very good opportunity to present the Falklands case about the referendum, how it went and what the programme was going on from there. They listened very carefully. I think they were generally very supportive of what we had done and what we are doing but naturally much more cautious about what the UN might say as a result of the referendum. There is no indication at this stage that the UN as an institution will take any different view in public. But clearly they get the referendum and what it means.

The same day we had a very interesting meeting with a number of UN Ambassadors, all of whom sit on the C-24. It was a very positive discussion with people clearly understanding what it is we are doing and why we are doing it. Some of them are agreeing very strongly with the concept of self-determination for the people of the Falklands. Others perhaps are slightly more cautious. Even amongst countries that we may not have expected automatic support it was evident. Countries like Indonesia and Iraq expressed quite strong support for the right to self-determination for the people of the Falklands. We also had a good discussion led by the Ambassador from Papua New Guiana about different ways of doing business in the C-24 and I think there is a caucus of countries that sit in the C-24 who are frankly fed up with the way that it operates and that they need to do it differently. It was an interesting discussion that will be very helpful to us and I am looking forward to June.

On Friday we went back to Washington and had meetings in the National Security Council and State Department who are the advisors to the US Government on Foreign Policy. They were very supportive and agreed that the referendum changed the dynamic. .. at a personal level very much appreciate what we were doing and why we were doing it. In fact the US position on the Falklands has changed by a degree or so. We are not expecting a big bang. It has changed by a degree or so in that the statement by the US after the referendum was that it recognised the democratic nature of the referendum and it then went on to refer to negotiations between all parties. That’s different because previous statements had referred to both parties…”

Asked about the reaction of Argentina’s Government, Summers said; “I think they are struggling to know how to deal with it. I think it is inevitable that they would go to the UN. I think the arguments that we have about not being an implanted population and not being a colony and about Argentina wanting to colonise the Falklands and all those sorts of things are pretty powerful and pretty well understood and simply going there and repeating a number of slogans that have a limited base in fact will have limited effect.  I don’t think it will make that much difference.”

Timerman meets with Ban Ki-moon

27 Mar

According to news reports in the Spanish language press this morning, Argentina’s Foreign Minister met with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon to reassert his country’s claims to the Falkland islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. This meeting followed a working lunch with some of the permanent members of the  Decolonization Committee. united-nations-flag-icon

José Baraún Araníbar, President of the UNASUR block of nations, told Argentina’s media state agency Télam; “It is simply to reiterate South American states’ willingness to support not only Argentina’s rights but also to hold negotiations and settle the dispute.”

The United Nations press release simply stated: “Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Foreign Ministers of Argentina, Cuba, Peru and Uruguay discussed the issue of the Falkland Islands during their meeting today at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom have been engaged in a dispute concerning the sovereignty of the islands, located in the south Atlantic Ocean.

According to a read-out of the meeting, the Secretary-General acknowledged the strong regional support on this issue and reiterated that his good offices to resolve this dispute remain available, if the parties are willing to engage.

Participating in the meeting were Héctor Timerman, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Argentina; Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba; José Beraún, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Peru; and Luis Almagro, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uruguay.

The Falkland Islands is one of 16 remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories, along with Gibraltar, New Caledonia, Western Sahara, American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guam, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States Virgin Islands and Tokelau.”

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99% say Yes

12 Mar

The final result of the vote in the Falkland Islands’ Referendum reveals 99.8% of the Islanders affirming that they wish to retain their British status.

Of 1,517 votes cast in the two-day referendum, 1,513 (99.8%) were in favour of keeping the current status, and just three (0.2%) were against. There was a 92% turnout from 1,672 British citizens eligible to vote in a population of about 2,900.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/falklandislands/9923801/Falkland-Islanders-vote-Yes-in-referendum-to-remain-part-of-Britain.html

http://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/126117/referendum-islanders-choose-to-remain-uk-overseas-territory

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2291936/BREAKING-NEWS-Residents-Falkland-Islands-overwhelmingly-vote-remain-Britain.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21750909

http://www.noticias24.com/internacionales/noticia/55784/los-residentes-de-las-islas-malvinas-votaron-a-un-985-seguir-bajo-dominio-britanico/

http://www.elnuevoherald.com/2013/03/11/1428712/residentes-de-las-malvinas-votaron.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/12/us-falklands-referendum-idUSBRE92B02T20130312

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324281004578355132846341280.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Ban Ki-moon addresses the 2013 Decolonization Committee

28 Feb

Opening the 2013 substantive session of the Special Committee on Decolonization, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on that body to devise “fresh and creative” approaches in mobilizing the political will needed to eradicate colonialism, saying it had no place in the modern world. Ban Ki Moon United Nations

“It is time for a new kind of fully inclusive dialogue about decolonization,” he said, adding:  “We no longer have the luxury of indulging in rhetoric and rituals.”  The risk of movement, while sometimes frightening, was preferable to the stagnation of the status quo.

Urging the Special Committee to review its practices so as to “maximize its effectiveness”, the Secretary-General said the common endeavour of eradicating colonialism required its “constructive involvement” with the Non-Self Governing Territories under its purview and with their respective administering Powers.

The Special Committee reviews the political, social and economic conditions in the 16 United Nations-listed Non-Self Governing Territories, organizes regional seminars to discuss the challenges of decolonization and works to ensure that the United Nations aids their development.

Echoing the Secretary-General, Special Committee Chair Diego Morejón (Ecuador) said that, well into the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, the body must create a “new momentum” and review each Territory to determine which should remain on its list and which should be removed.

Direct, constructive contact must be maintained with New Caledonia, which would enter a critical phase of self-determination in 2014, Mr. Morejón said.  He noted that the General Assembly had commended the positive steps taken by New Caledonian and French authorities since their signing of the 1998 Nouméa Accord giving the Territory transitional status until the holding of a referendum between 2014 and 2018.

Similarly, Papua New Guinea’s representative praised the active involvement of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and all parties under the Nouméa Accord.  Urging the Special Committee to break from “business as usual”, he called for concrete ways to help the remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories achieve their respective aspirations, and for the Special Committee to liaise closely with each of the administering Powers in a holistic manner.  In that regard, he applauded the cooperation between Tokelau and New Zealand.

Mr. Morejón spoke after having been elected by acclamation as Chair for the current session.  Also elected were Rodolfo Reyes Rodríguez (Cuba) and Shekou M. Touray (Sierra Leone) as Vice-Chairs, and Bashar Ja’afari (Syria) as Rapporteur.

The Chair proposed that the Special Committee’s annual seminar, scheduled for Latin America this year, be held in Ecuador during the last week of May, to coincide with the Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self Governing Territories (25-31 May).

Cuba’s representative thanked Ecuador for its commitment to the Special Committee’s work.

The Special Committee approved the Chair’s proposal, as well as its proposed organization of work for 2013 (document A/AC.109/2013/L.2).  It invited Argentina, Costa Rica, Spain, Cyprus, Ghana, Mauritania, Namibia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to participate in the session as observers.

Remaining on the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories are the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, New Caledonia and Western Sahara, as well as American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guam, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Tokelau, Turks and Caicos Islands and the United States Virgin Islands.

The Special Committee will reconvene at a date and time to be announced.

 

Fernandez accuses the UK of disobeying UN orders

17 Jan

During a visit to Indonesia this week, Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, criticised the United Nations Security Council saying that the Falkland islands were a; ” .. clear example of how permanent Members used their status to disobey UN orders, thus showing the UN’s double standards.” 523775-cristina-kirchner

This was a clear reference to the United Kingdom’s permanent seat on the UN’s senior Council and its refusal to negotiate over the sovereignty of the Falkland islands.

Argentina’s erroneous position is that the UK is in breach of UN General Assembly Resolutions calling for the two countries to discuss the situation in the South Atlantic. This despite the recent reassurances of the UN’s Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, that the UK was not in breach of any relevant UN Resolutions. Additionally, while Security Council Resolutions are mandatory, those of the General Assembly are merely ‘advisory’ and carry little real weight. Security Council Resolution 502, issued after Argentina’s illegal invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982 called for Argentina’s immediate withdrawal, but was disobeyed resulting in the Falklands War.

Kirchner’s comments come on the back of a call by members of the South Atlantic Zone of Peace and Cooperation, for Argentina and the UK to negotiate over Argentina’s claims.

The Falkland Islands were first claimed by Britain in 1765 whereas Argentina claims to have inherited a title from Spain on its independence in 1816. Spain maintained its own claim to East Falkland until 1863 when it recognised British sovereignty with a diplomatic mission.

The Falkland Islanders are due to hold a referendum to decide their future status in March. Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to defend their decision.

David Cameron’s Christmas Message to the Falklands

21 Dec

In his Christmas Message to the people of the Falkland Islands, British Prime Minister, David Cameron, reiterated his Government’s support for the Falkland Islands in the face of increasing aggression from Argentina. cameron

“We want all the peoples of the Overseas Territories to be able to determine their own destiny and realise their aspirations. But, I’m always conscious that you, the people of the Falkland Islands, continue to face a particular and direct challenge both to your economy and to your identity as Falkland Islanders. President Kirchner’s Government appears determined to argue that you should have no say in how you are governed. They continue to misrepresent the history of your Islands and the current realities of life there. I’m pleased to see the Falkland Islanders working hard to correct these misrepresentations. Indeed, it was particularly good to see a delegation of young Islanders travel to the United Nations in June to challenge President Kirchner directly. They were a great credit to you all. It is a pity that Argentina persists in behaving this way.

The UK would like to have a more positive relationship with the Government of Argentina. We are stepping up our engagement with Latin America more generally, and there are so many global issues we could work on together. But, the British Government will not stand by and allow your human rights to be ignored. There is no justification for any country to try and deny you the right to democracy and self-determination. Nor to make attempts to isolate you, block your trade and undermine your legitimate fisheries, hydrocarbons and tourism industries.

Next year the Falkland Islands Government will hold a referendum on the political status of the Islands. I value deeply the UK’s relationship with the Falklands and hope it will long continue. But it is not my decision, nor is it Argentina’s, it is yours and yours alone. This referendum is true democracy in action, an opportunity to show the international community what you want for your future and to show it definitively. I hope all of you seize it.

In the meantime, Samantha and I would like to wish everyone on the Islands a very, very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.”