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No Parallels between Falklands and Chagos

Friday, May 24th 2019 - 09:05 UTC
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UK’s ambassador to the UN, Karen Pierce, said she did not expect any change of position on the part of Argentina, a country with which London maintains good relations UK’s ambassador to the UN, Karen Pierce, said she did not expect any change of position on the part of Argentina, a country with which London maintains good relations

In a move that will no doubt be greeted favorably in Buenos Aires, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly demanded on Wednesday that Britain give up control over the Chagos Islands.

In 1966 Britain leased Diego Garcia, the biggest island in the Indian Ocean’s Chagos archipelago, to the United States. This paved the way for the construction of a military airbase that required the forced removal of some 2,000 people.

This expulsion of a population against its will has often been equated by Argentina with the supposed expulsion of an Argentine population from Port Louis in 1933, which forms the basis of their sovereignty claim over the Falklands.

The British ambassador to the UN, Karen Pierce, made it clear that her country will continue in the region and reiterated its traditional position, which indicates that Chagos has been under British sovereignty since 1814 and was never part of Mauritius, as International Cort Of Justice and UN’s General Assembly said. In the 1965 agreement, London undertook to “cede” the archipelago to Mauritius when it was not necessary for “defense purposes”.

Asked about the possible implications of this decision over Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands, Pierce said she did not expect any change of position on the part of Spain and Argentina, two countries with which London maintains good relations. Both the Spanish and Argentine delegations voted on Wednesday in favor of demanding London's withdrawal from Chagos.

Nevertheless, with regard to possible consequences of the UN resolution to the Falklands, respected expert in international law, Stephen Potts, has written, “to equate the removal of a garrison and their families that had been present on the Falklands for three months in 1833 to the removal of the Chagos islanders in 1965 stretches the imagination. It is also reasonable to say that the international law on self-determination and UN Charter on territorial integrity cannot be applied retroactively to the 19th century.”

According to Falklands historians Peter Pepper and Graham Pascoe, the British did eject a small Argentine garrison (26 soldiers, with their 11 women and 8 children) that had been on the Falklands just less than three months. In fact, Britain wanted the tiny civilian population to remain and the majority of settlers decided to do so. Only four settlers ‘chose’ to leave with the garrison. (PN/MP)


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  • Terence Hill

    Patrick Edgar
    “That's not true ... Britain never affirmed, or consolidated nor was ever recognized ... It had fought, but lost and left”
    Britain did affirm in the joint Anglo Spanish Declaration of 1771. They were prior to it prepared to go to war over Islands. As Palmerston, later said. “Britain had always disputed and denied the claim of Spain to the Falkland Islands, and she was not therefore willing to yield to Buenos Ayres what had been refused to Spain.”
    Recognized, those countries have already legally recognized UK sovereignty by their initial ”silences“ of 1833, and have already ”consented“. Not one country supported an Argentine claim.
    ”will refrain from saying they were on the islands from before 1833” Thats because it's not true, and unlike you lot are not steeped in viveza criolla.

    May 24th, 2019 - 05:50 pm +5
  • Terence Hill

    Patrick Edgar
    Britain met force with force. Argentine acquiescence to the absolute right of the UK by her failure to respond to diplomacy protests.
    “silence gives consent. Thus, who keeps silent consents; silence means consent; silent consent is same as expressed consent; consent by conduct is as good as expressed consent. This is an implied term in law....”
    Soma's Dictionary Of Latin Quotations Maxims And Phrases

    May 24th, 2019 - 10:57 am +4
  • Brit Bob

    Interestingly, in a televised interview [Channel 4 News, UK , 23rd of May 2019] The President Of The Chagos Islands Council said Chagossians, living in the UK, would prefer that The Chagos Archipelago remains a British Overseas Territory. Also, he stated that Chagossians would rather live as UK citizens on Diego Garcia, similar to how citizens on Pitcairn Island live [Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, are a British Overseas Territory in the southern Pacific Ocean]; rather than be ceded to Mauritius. He discussed how, despite their original displacement by the UK, Mauritius treated the Chagossians appallingly – despite an agreement with the UK to assist them. Furthermore, Mr Vincatassin suggested that Mauritius made the Chagossians surrender their right of return to the Chagos Archipelago and are simply motivated by the ‘rent’ they hope to take off the Americans; or perhaps to ‘give them to India’.

    May 24th, 2019 - 12:02 pm +4
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