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As Falkland Islanders, we have the right to decide our own fate

Wednesday, June 13th 2012 - 17:44 UTC
Full article 57 comments
MLA Gavin Short MLA Gavin Short

By MLA Gavin Short (*) - The following piece was published on Wednesday’s edition of The Guardian. Thirty years on from the liberation of the Falklands, a referendum on our political future will send a clear signal to the world

For those lucky enough to visit our home, the Falkland Islands, one thing will be immediately obvious: we do not have, and never have had, any desire to be ruled by the government in Buenos Aires.

The Argentine government repeatedly deploys misleading rhetoric that implies either that we have no strong views about our future, or that we are somehow kept here against our will. This is completely absurd. In the next few months the world will see unequivocally the strength of feeling that Falkland Islanders have regarding their political future.

This week, the 30th anniversary of our liberation, is clearly a very significant time for Falkland Islanders. The restoration of our liberty 30 years ago gave us the freedom to determine our own political future. It is therefore especially fitting that we announced this week our intention to hold a referendum on the political status of the Falkland Islands.

For Falkland Islanders, this gives the opportunity for our voice to be heard loud and clear in the face of an Argentine administration that deliberately ignores our existence and our rights. We are holding this referendum not because we have any doubts about who we are and what future we want, but to show the world just how very certain we are about it.

Our future is neither for Argentina nor the UK to decide. We alone, the people of the Falkland Islands, can make that choice. The principle of self-determination is enshrined in the UN charter and is a human right applicable to all peoples, including us.

We hope that this referendum will send a clear signal – not just to Argentina but to other members of the international community – that the attempts by Argentina's president, Cristina Kirchner to bully and harangue these islands are unacceptable in a region that values democracy and human rights. Argentina's efforts to damage our livelihoods through a policy of illegal and counter-productive blockades are unacceptable. Such crass efforts to railroad the Falkland Islanders, and the British government that stands beside us, are doomed to fail. It is time, 30 years after the restoration of our liberty, for Argentina to stop this nonsense and to talk to us directly.

This is the message that our delegation will be presenting at the meeting of the UN decolonisation committee in New York on Thursday. Unusually, the meeting will be attended by President Kirchner herself. We welcome enthusiastically the opportunity this provides to challenge the president directly in front of the international community and global media. For the first time, our delegation will consist of more than just our democratically elected legislative assembly members. Six young Falkland Islanders, who can trace their heritage back seven generations in the islands, will be attending. This is the face of the Falkland Islands that the world needs to see.

The Falkland Islanders are a peaceful, hard-working and resilient people. Our society is thriving and forward-looking. Self-governing, financially self-sufficient and with our own identity, we are a small place with a big future. All we ask of Argentina is that our rights be respected, that we be left in peace to choose our own future and to develop our home for our children and generations to come.

(*) Falklands’ Legislative Assembly spokesperson

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  • Tabutos

    Falkland islanders well done!

    a good show of true strength against injustice that is Argentina!


    Jun 13th, 2012 - 06:15 pm 0
  • Logorrhea Alert

    Up the Falklands,
    Down the RG.

    We must put to rest the animosities that have kept various groups of people from enjoying anything other than superficial unity. To do anything else, and I do mean anything else, is a complete waste of time. This may be water under the bridge by now, but if The RG truly believes that it is always being misrepresented and/or persecuted, then maybe it should enroll in Introduction to Reality 101.

    Mark my words: we can all have daydreams about Happy Fuzzy Purple Bunny Land, where everyone is caring, loving, and nice. Not only will those daydreams not come true, but we must get the facts out in the hope that somebody will do something to solve the problem.

    Only then can a society free of its bitter cajoleries blossom forth from the roots of the past. And only then will people come to understand that we need to put it on notice for its attempts to force its moral code on the rest of us.

    Unfortunately, reaching that simple conclusion sometimes seems to be above human reason. But there is a wisdom above human, and to that we must look if we are ever to put an end to The RG's evildoing.

    The RG's escapades must not go unchallenged. Period, finis, and Q.E.D.

    Jun 13th, 2012 - 06:45 pm 0
  • Pete Bog

    Well done Falkland Islanders, more of this assertiveness will expose the Argentines for what they are to the world.

    Jun 13th, 2012 - 07:00 pm 0
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