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Falklands call on UN Committee to uphold right to self-determination

Elected members criticise unilateral actions by Argentine Government that impede travel and trade

June 21st 2011, Stanley: The Honourable Dick Sawle MLA and the Honourable Roger Edwards MLA this morning addressed the United Nations Decolonisation Committee in New York.

Both MLAs used their speeches to Committee Members to robustly reaffirm the resolve of the Islands™ government and people to pursue their right to self-determination.  Both MLAs also called upon the members of the United Nations Decolonisation Committee to respect the principals of the UN in respect of countries and their fundamental right to self -determination.

 œChapter 1 Article 1.2 enshrines the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, said the Honourable Dick Sawle MLA. œThis is a high principle that the UN stands for and I ask that Committee Members stand by that principle today.

Both MLAs took the opportunity to outline the elements of the Islands™ current relationship with Argentina, citing a growing number of unilateral moves that have challenged the Islands™ way of life.

œArgentina has broken agreements and attempted to restrict our external communications and economy. The end result is that any bridges that we may have attempted to build between our two countries have been destroyed by this unilateral action, said Mr Sawle.

During their speeches, both Mr Sawle and Mr Edwards reminded the Committee that there had been no official visit from the Committee chair to the Falkland Islands, despite the previous Chairman having visited Argentina last year. They called for members to be open to listen to all parties in relation to questions of sovereignty.

œMr Chairman, I would now like to invite you, publicly, to visit the Falkland Islands to see for yourself our unique way of life and freedoms that we enjoy, said Mr Edwards.

During his speech, Mr Sawle made the following points: 

  • The people of the Falkland Islands are united in their belief that they should be left to determine their own future
  • The principal of sovereignty is not a question of control over a country, it is one that means that the governed need to respect and accept their government. The Argentine claim does not meet these fundamental requirements
  • Unilateral actions such as the 2003 banning of charter flights to the Islands through Argentine airspace have damaged relations with the Islands

 Click here to read the full speech.

 During his speech, Mr Edwards made the following points: 

  • The Falkland Islands are self sufficient and self governing except for external affairs and defence
  • The Falkland Islands™ people do not wish to see a change from British sovereign status
  • The Falkland Islands™ people enjoy a high standard of living and enjoy a highly regarded education system

 Click here to read the full speech.

 The Islands have sent representatives to the annual meeting of the Committee since 1983.