Today the Falkland Islands made a heartfelt and very human entreaty to the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization (C-24). Chair of the Legislative Assembly, MLA Mark Pollard and Deputy Chair MLA Leona Roberts both stood before members of the committee and each delivered an ardent and sincere speech, which spoke of their personal histories as well as their hopes for the future of their children and the Falkland Islands as a whole.
MLA Mark Pollard related how he “grew up in a Falkland Islands that had been ravaged by war… when other children were being warned of the danger of talking to strangers, we were taught to recognise landmines, booby traps and unexploded ordnance.” He iterated how, in 1982, the innocence of a nation was taken away overnight and that “reminders of death and destruction have become part of everyday life.” He asked members to consider how, in the past 39 years, “Argentina has never shown remorse for their actions… but brazenly stand before the world claiming to have been treated unjustly themselves.” He ended with a heartfelt entreaty to the committee: “I am here to beg you to allow my children to grow up knowing only peace… and to recognise my people’s right to determine their own future.”
MLA Leona Roberts also spoke of her family’s arrival in the Islands nine generations ago and how their story, like many others, has strong roots woven into the cultural history of a young country borne of “natural migration and organic growth.” She told the committee how it felt to wake up as a ten-year-old on the day that the Islands were invaded and how there is yet to be an apology for “the fear and despair experienced during occupation and the violation of our home… and the profound sorrow for lives cut short and wounds – physical and emotional – suffered even today.” She reminded the committee that in the intervening 39 years the Falkland Islands has continued to behave “responsibly and with decency, even toward those who would do us ill” citing examples such as the sharing of data on fish stocks and support for the DNA identification work undertaken since 2017.
Both representatives of the Legislative Assembly asked members to consider the true and undeniable purpose of the C-24 in standing up for the rights of nations under the threat of external control in all its guises. Furthermore, not to allow itself as a committee – and by extension the United Nations – to essentially become a tool for colonisation by supporting Argentina’s attempts to reinforce its ongoing constitutional claim over the Falkland Islands.
The session ended with an invitation made by both MLAs for C-24 to send its members on a mission to experience firsthand the views and the voices of Falkland Islanders. As MLA Mark Pollard reasserted: “Many [people] call for bilateral talks between the UK and Argentina to solve the question of the Falkland Islands. The only people who can [do that] are the people of the Falkland Islands… If the international community support our basic human right to determine our own future, then it will have fixed the question of the Falkland Islands.”
C-24 proceedings, including the live feed and recording of both speeches, are available online via United Nations web TV: http://webtv.un.org/