The Falkland Islands Executive Council (ExCo) approved a proposal to remove the fences which secured former minefield sites around the Islands over a three-year period of 2021 to 2024.
As anticipated, the Argentine government objected to the mines' clearance effort announced by the United Kingdom in Geneva for having been addressed “unilaterally in Argentine territory illegitimately occupied” and in violation of UN Resolution 3149 which calls on both sides to abstain from any unilateral action in the disputed territories.
The United Kingdom made the official presentation in Geneva before the 18th meeting of the States parties Antipersonnel mine ban Convention of the successful Falkland Islands Demining, an eleven-year program which culminated in the clearance of 122 minefields, and was celebrated by the Islands' community last Saturday 14 November.
Today 14 November 2020. the Falkland Islands have been officially declared mine-free, almost 40 years after the end of the Falkland Islands war. The minefield danger signs and fences that were once the hallmark of the invasion have all finally been removed, and the community is again free to enjoy some of the Islands’ most beautiful areas which have been off-limits since 1982.
STANLEY, Falkland Islands – On 14 June 1982 as British Forces liberated the beleaguered small Falkland Islands population from Argentine occupation and the Islanders rejoiced as British democracy was restored, disturbing rumours began to circulate – Argentine soldiers had reportedly been observed laying vast numbers of mines in areas close to the town and beyond.
The Argentine government has criticized the successful eleven-year demining process in the Falkland Islands arguing it is a new “violation” of a UN resolution calling on both sides, UK and Argentina, to abstain from any unilateral action in the disputed territories.
She born and raised in the Falklands in a family long established in the Islands, and belongs to the first generations of Islanders who went to university, helping to transform a lethargic sheep-farming colony into a vibrant, proud community with a vigorous sense of self-sufficiency and country spirit.
The minefields around the Falkland Islands capital, Stanley, dating back to the South Atlantic conflict, have remained largely untouched for most of nearly 35 years, due to the restrictions in place around access to the minefields. Over this time, they have become a haven for Falkland’s wildlife.
DYNASAFE Bactec recently returned to the Falkland Islands to continue demining operations, namely the completion of Phase 5a by March 18. “The break of around 10 weeks has allowed us all to recharge our batteries to finish these remaining tasks,” said Project Manager Julius Unsung.
The BACTEC demining team was welcomed back to the Falkland Islands with a reception last Tuesday evening, hosted by the recently arrived Governor Nigel Phillips at Government House.