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Sovereignty dispute “excludes” Falklands from C24 self determination

Friday, June 29th 2007 - 21:00 UTC
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The much disputed clause which would have the United Nations General Assembly exclude Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands from the full exercise of self-determination because they are caught in a “sovereignty dispute” was adopted by the UN Committee of 24 this week and passed to the UN fourth committee, reports the Gibraltar Chronicle.

It emerged that in concluding the 2007 session the Special Committee also adopted its report and that of the Caribbean Regional Seminar, held this year in Grenada from 22 to 24 May. It was understood that reservations expressed by members would be reflected in the record of the meetings. Chairperson, Margaret Hughes Ferrari said this week that the decolonisation effort must focus on practical, tangible results, as there was only two-and-a-half years left before the end of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism. The Special Committee had one essential task to perform: to give all possible support to Non-Self-Governing Territories in establishing conditions that would enable them, through a valid act of self-determination, to demonstrate their will on the issue of their respective status, she said. "Progress would require innovative approaches and the willingness of all concerned to cooperate", said Mrs. Ferrari. The Committee must focus its time, energy and creativity on Territories where it could help achieve progress, on a case-by-case basis. "I firmly believe that the Special Committee has to find new ways of going about its important work -- through improved cooperation with the administering Powers and in full recognition of the wishes of the peoples and Governments in the Non-Self-Governing Territories." The adoption of the Grenada conclusions was widely reported the C24 accepting that where a sovereignty dispute exists territories are excluded from the self-determination process. The report said that in the decolonisation process "and where a sovereignty dispute does not exist" there is no alternative to the principle of self-determination. Mrs Ferrai, as Ambassador to St Vincent and the Grenadines had objected to the exclusion clause but reportedly finally had to vote in favour overall whilst expressing reservations. Addressing the C24 earlier this month Chief Minister Peter Caruana said that these views, inserted into the report of the Seminar at the bidding of self interested member states in the drafting committee at the Seminar, and "cannot be misrepresented, and cannot masquerade, as 'the important expressions of the will of the people' of non self governing territories". He said that "if the Special Committee adopts those extraordinary propositions, what you will be saying is that the people of Gibraltar do not enjoy the right to self-determination. If that is your position, how are you ever going to finish your work? How will you ever be able to de-list Gibraltar (and the Falkland Islands for that matter)? Are you saying that you will not de-list us until Spain's territorial integrity as at 1704 is restored by the transfer of the sovereignty of our homeland to Spain against our wishes?"

Categories: Politics, Falkland Islands.

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