The Falkland Islands Government (FIG) issued on Friday a statement on the 39th anniversary of the Argentine Operation Rosario that “shattered” the peace of Falkland Islanders, marking the beginning of the 1982's Falklands War. “This amphibious invasion marked the beginning of the unlawful occupation of the Falkland Islands, which sought to obliterate every Islander’s fundamental human right to live in a self-determined, democratic society,” the statement continues.
The following day, on April 3 of 1982, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 502, demanding an immediate withdrawal of Argentine forces from the Islands, but this was disregarded and a 74-day war followed, with far-reaching and deeply-felt consequences for many people.
While the devastation of the invasion of the Argentine military remains in living memory, these 39 years of peace have brought with them progress, FIG stated.
Having had our liberty restored, our community has ensured that this freedom is not only commemorated and celebrated, but is undeniably characterised by the advancement of the Islands since that time. Our political, economic and social development has been considerable; we have enjoyed remarkable growth and have shown ourselves to be a dynamic, enterprising, ambitious and forward-looking part of the UK family, the statement released today said.
FIG dennounced that while the Government of Argentina has disengaged from joint work, such as exchange of fisheries data and joint research to help support sustainability in the region, the FIG has continued to work together with the UK government, to maintain its own commitment and to support this important work. The Humanitarian Project Plan being one such example, which has led to the identification of 115 Argentine soldiers previously buried in unnamed graves, with a further phase of work is due to begin later in 2021.
MLA Mark Pollard, Chair of the Legislative Assembly, stated: “We have always been clear about what it means to be a Falkland Islander. It means being able to choose our own future, to exercise our democratic right to self-determination and to internal government. All we ask is for our rights to be respected by others – rights which have been earned, over time, by generations of people who have chosen to make the Falkland Islands their home.
It is our self-sufficiency and resilience which has built these Islands. Our overriding wish is to live in peace and, while military hostilities may have ended, the war of words has not, our children grow up beneath the shadow of a nation that seeks to remove our fundamental human rights. The Government of Argentina should consider finally ending its aggressive challenge of our rights, our sovereignty and our way of life,” Pollard concluded.