One of my particular bones of contention is the beligerent way in which Argentina treats the Falkland Islands based on no claim whatsoever other than geography ( the islands lie closer to Argentina than the UK), and their need to take control over the south Atlantic in an attempt to exert some influence over the future of the Antarctic. Geopolitics pure and simple.
Oh yes, Argentina will come up with a concocted history claiming that they had founded a settlement in the 1820’s and then been thrown off by British forces in 1833. This is a selective, indeed spurious, version of events as it fails to note that the British first gained sovereignty in 1765. Long before Argentina was even a twinkle in a revolutionary’s eye.
There was no indiginous population on the islands when the first British settlement was founded and the sovereighty claim that Britain gained then has never been renounced nor abandoned
However, what is most important here in the 21st century is the future of the islander’s themselves. As an ex-colony and a non-self governing territory they are entitled to both protection and rights under the multi-lateral Treaty known as the Charter of the United Nations.
The Falkland Islander’s are empowered by the Charter to decide their own future and the British Government is meeting its responsibilities under Article 73 with that end in mind.
Article 73 states:
” Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories, and, to this end:
a) to ensure, with due respect for the culture of the peoples concerned, their political, economic, social, and educational advancement, their just treatment, and their protection against abuses;
b) to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free
political institutions, according to the particular circumstances of each
territory and its peoples and their varying stages of advancement;
c) to further international peace and security;
d) to promote constructive measures of development, to encourage research, and to co-operate with one another and, when and where appropriate, with specialized international bodies with a view to the practical achievement of the social, economic, and scientific purposes set forth in this Article; and
e) to transmit regularly to the Secretary-General for information purposes, subject to such limitation as security and constitutional considerations may require, statistical and other information of a technical nature relating to economic, social, and educational conditions in the territories for which they are respectively responsible ….. “
The islanders have their own government in the form of a Legislative Assembly with eight elected members representing a population of around 3,000 islanders and they are increasingly taking responsibility for their own development.
For example the recent oil exploration licences were issued by the Falkland Islands Government, not the UK. These, together with fishing licences, sheep farming, tourism and the production of stamps, have reduced the islander’s dependancy on the UK to the point that the only costs the British pick up are those for defence.
However, there is another Article in the UN Charter regarding non-self governing territories.
Article 74 states:
” Members of the United Nations also agree that their policy in respect of the
territories to which this Chapter applies, no less than in respect of their
metropolitan areas, must be based on the general principle of good-neighbourliness, due account being taken of the interests and well-being of the rest of the world, in social, economic, and commercial matters. “
This Article applies to all of the Members of the United Nations and lays a duty upon them. Argentina is in breach of that duty. Argentina is not a ‘good neighbour’.