Falklands : Falklands: LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY REAFFIRMS REFERENDUM STANCE
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 07.04.2013 (Article Archived on 05.05.2013)
The Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly has responded to the 26 March 2013 visit to the United Nations by the Argentine foreign Minister, Mr Hector Timerman.
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY REAFFIRMS REFERENDUM
The Falkland Islands Legislative
Assembly has responded to the 26 March 2013 visit to the United Nations by the
Argentine foreign Minister, Mr Hector Timerman.
Gavin Short, MLA wrote a letter to the UN Secretary General to express
concern on behalf of Legislative Assembly.
In mid-March two members of the
Legislative Assembly, Sharon Halford and Mike Summers visited the United
Nations in New York to discuss the results of the Falkland Islands referendum
and to hand over a letter to the Secretary General. This letter reiterated that the Falkland
Islands people have no wish to be governed by Argentina and that we value our
constitutional links to the UK. It is a
relationship founded on free choice.
“It is disappointing – though not
surprising – that Mr Timerman seems so anxious to discredit our referendum,
Said Mr Short to Falklands’ media. He
went on to say that suggestions by the Argentine Government that our referendum
was “illegal” and that it contravenes UN resolutions, or that the Falkland
Islanders are proscribed by the UN from discussions on the future of our Island
home, are all absurd and untrue and that Mr Timerman’s frantic efforts to lobby
the international community to ignore our voice strikes us here as the
diplomacy of desperation.
Having spoken so clearly in our
recent referendum, it is not credible for anyone to pretend either that the
Falkland Islands people do not exist or that we do not have the basic human and
political rights to determine our own future.
“In a spirit of openness and a desire to engage with the international
community, our letter also invited the Chair of the UN Special Committee on
Decolonisation to visit the Falklands and to see for himself that our home is
not a colonial relic but a vibrant twenty-first century democracy,” said Mr
The full text of the letter
GAVIN SHORT’s LETTER
14th March 2013
Dear Secretary General,
On behalf of the Falkland Islands
Government, the Hon Michael Summers and Hon Sharon Halford, would like to
present to you the results of the recent referendum on the future political
status of the Falkland Islands.
99.8% of those who voted decided
to maintain the current constitutional arrangement between the United Kingdom
and the Falkland Islands Government. We
believe this result is a clear and comprehensive expression of our wishes and
very much hope that the United Nations will acknowledge and respect those
wishes as the legitimate voice of the Falkland Islands people.
The founding principles of the
United Nations Charter and General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) are clear on
the primacy of respect for the principle of self determination for all
peoples. UN General Assembly Resolution
1514 (XV) states that “All peoples have the right to self determination; by
virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely
pursue their economic, social and cultural development”. This right is not qualified, and attempts to
qualify it within the United Nations have been rejected.
Though we value our links to the
United Kingdom, we are our own community, free to determine our political
future. The referendum result makes it
clear that we have no desire to be governed by Argentina. Continued harassment of our economic
development and intimidation of those who want to do business with us and
invest in the Islands will not change this fact. The more Argentina presses our small
community the harder will be our resolve.
Despite such pressure we, and the
Government of the United Kingdom, remain willing to enter into dialogue with
Argentina. Our differences should be
discussed in a reasonable and constructive way.
We favour co-operation and peaceful co-existence in the South Atlantic
and there are many important issues that we can both usefully address
together. Neither the United Nations
Charter nor General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) support the concept of two
large sovereign states negotiating away the rights of self-determination of the
peoples of any territory. We therefore hope that the United Nations will agree
that it is no longer credible to view this issue as primarily a dispute between
the United Kingdom and Argentina, over and above the wishes of the Falkland Islanders.
The Falkland Islands are discussed
annually by the Special Committee on Decolonisation at the United Nations. You recently said in your address at the 2013
opening session of the Committee that it was time for a new kind of inclusive
dialogue about decolonization and that such dialogue required the constructive
involvement of all concerned: the Special Committee, the administering Powers
and the Non-Self-Governing Territories, working on a case-by-case-basis. We agree that the Committee must engage more
constructively with communities it considers as ‘colonies’ and take their
wishes into account. To that end we
reiterate that we consider it unusual that despite issuing annual resolutions
on the supposed ‘colonial’ nature of the Islands, neither the Special Committee
nor its secretariat have ever visited the Islands in any official capacity. If
the Special Committee on Decolonisation wishes to ‘engage in a new kind of
dialogue’ then we consider it only right that Committee have the opportunity to
see the Falkland Islands and its people in person. Therefore, the open invitation issued on 7
December 2010 and circulated at the United Nations for any current or future
Chair of the Special Committee to visit the Falklands remains open.
We ask you again to acknowledge
our wishes as expressed clearly and definitively by our referendum.
On behalf of the Members of the
Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands