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Falkland Islanders have the right to choose their future

Thursday, February 16th 2012 - 20:00 UTC
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Dr Barry Elsby is a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands Dr Barry Elsby is a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands

By Dr. Barry Elsby - The Falkland Islands are home to a thriving community. In the face of escalating rhetoric, that community must have the right to determine its own future, argues Dr Barry Elsby MLA

“Give peace a chance,” said Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the President of Argentina, earlier this month when she announced that her government would be lodging a formal complaint to the UN regarding the ‘militarization’ of the Falkland Islands. For the people of the Islands, the desire for peace has been a constant. This latest rhetoric, supposedly to extend an olive branch, appears somewhat insincere given Argentina’s continued moves aimed at economically strangling and politically isolating the Islands.

Global interest in the Islands in recent months follows more than a year of increasingly aggressive actions from Argentina in the form of economic sanctions and trade blockades. The Argentine-led move by Mercosur members to close their ports to Falkland-flagged vessels is just one example of the continual litany of bullying tactics deployed by Argentina.

While we in the Islands have grown well accustomed to political rhetoric from Buenos Aires over the years, these latest moves have seen everyday life made that bit harder, with the selection of food on the shelves changing, and becoming more expensive, as we have had to find new suppliers for everyday goods. But, we Falkland Islanders are resourceful people and will not be defeated by political and economic bullying. We remain resolute in our desire to maintain neighbourly relations with all our South American neighbours, including Argentina, for mutual benefit. During the 1990s, significant progress had been made in our relationship with Argentina; agreements had been reached on conservation of fish stocks and on oil exploration but Argentina unilaterally withdrew from these, something we deeply regret.

With the eyes of the world on the South Atlantic in recent weeks, one unified message continues to come from those that live in the Islands; that is our right to self-determination. The people of the Falkland Islands remain a British Overseas Territory by choice. It is our constitutional right and a fundamental freedom enshrined in the UN Charter. This right to self-determination is a value that is protected and promoted by democratic powers the world over; the Falkland Islands are no different. We are happy to talk, but our sovereignty remains non-negotiable.

Despite adversity, we are upbeat about our future, drawing on the strength of nine generations of Islanders, and those who have chosen to make the Falkland Islands their home. The Falkland Islands economy is diverse, prosperous, and is self-sufficient in all areas other than defence, for which it receives a relatively small contribution from the UK - less than 0.5% of the total UK defence budget. The Islands are home to a thriving community, one of the world’s best managed fisheries - with fishing activity generating approximately 60% of the Islands revenues - and an ever developing tourism sector which sees some 60,000 visitors to our Islands each year.

As the thirtieth anniversary of the 1982 conflict approaches, the people of the Falklands are focusing on looking forward to a positive and prosperous future - one that is driven and shaped by the Islanders themselves.


Categories: Politics, Falkland Islands.

Top Comments

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  • BenC30

    “Falkland Islanders have the right to choose their future”

    The title of this article says it all. Let the Falkland Islanders decide...

    Feb 16th, 2012 - 08:11 pm 0
  • GreekYoghurt

    KFC: “Give Peace and an economic blockade a chance”
    Ban KM: “Yes, do what Argentina says”
    Sean Penn: “... and an end to colonialism, unless it affects me.”
    Ban KM: “Yes, do what Sean Penn says”

    Feb 16th, 2012 - 08:12 pm 0
  • Raul

    The principle of self-determination does not apply to the Question of the Malvinas Islands.

    The specificity of the Malvinas question is that the United Kingdom occupied the islands by force in 1833, expelled the original population and did not allow their return, thus violating the territorial integrity of Argentina. Therefore, the possibility is to apply the principle of self-determination, as its exercise by the inhabitants of the islands would cause the “disruption of national unity and territorial integrity” of Argentina. In this regard it should be noted that resolution 1514 (XV) “Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples” in the sixth paragraph states that “Any attempt aimed at partial or total disruption of national unity and territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. ”In the Malvinas Question General Assembly of the United Nations included this doctrine - the principle of territorial integrity taking into account the interests and NOT the wishes of the people of the islands - in its resolution 2065 (XX) of 1965, ratified by later resolutions 1973 (3160, XXVIII) 1976 (31/49), 1982 (37/9), 1983 (38/12) , 1984 (39/6), 1985 (40/21), 1986 (41/40), 1987 (42/19) and 1988 (43/25). They all declare the existence of a sovereignty dispute and reaffirm the invitation made in resolution 2065 (XX) Parties (Argentina and the United Kingdom) ”to proceed without delay with the negotiations recommended by the Special Committee with due regard to the provisions and objectives of the UN Charter and Resolution 1514 (XV) and the interests of the population of the islands from 2004 Malvinas.A the Argentine government that the Malvinas Islands Question permanently on the agenda and in the paper by the Bureau of the General Assembly.

    Feb 16th, 2012 - 08:14 pm 0
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