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Debate: Falkland Islands, return of

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Should the United Kingdom hand over the Falkland Islands to Argentina?

Background and context

The Falkland Islands are a British Overseas Territory in the south-west Atlantic Ocean. They are about 300 miles from Argentina and lie just above the Antarctic circle. Their population is about 2500 with an economy based upon agriculture, fishing, tourism and oil exploration. The islands are claimed by Argentina, where they are known as ‘Las Malvinas’. Attempts by Britain and Argentina to reach a diplomatic agreement in the mid-twentieth century failed. Argentina’s military junta launched an invasion of the islands in 1982 but this was defeated after a major British military operation. About 500 British military personnel are now stationed on the islands.
Britain and Argentina restored diplomatic relations after Carlos Menem became President of a democratic Argentina in 1989. Argentina agreed not to press its demands for sovereignty, in return for cooperation on fishing, oil exploration and transport links. There has been less cooperation since Nestor Kirchner became President of Argentina in 2003. For example, flights between Argentina and the islands have been stopped. Kirchner, supported by Hugo Chavez (President of Venezuela), demanded that Britain return the islands. Many British commentators think that Kirchner adopted his tough stance to gain domestic political support. Some understanding of the islands’ history is important in this debate. The islands first appear on European maps in the early-sixteenth century. This suggests that Spanish explorers may have spotted them. John Strong, an Englishman, is the first European known to have actually landed, in 1690. The first European settlement of the islands was by France in 1764. A British settlement was established separately the next year. The islands appear to have been uninhabited at this time, but archaeology shows some previous human activity. Spain purchased France’s rights in the islands in 1767. On 22 January 1771 Britain and Spain signed an agreement where both nations rights were reserved. After this agreement Britain voluntarily abandoned its colony physically (not politically) in 1774, but left a plaque asserting its sovereignty. Spain ruled the islands from Buenos Aires (now the capital of Argentina) without opposition until 1811. Spain then withdrew, leaving the islands uninhabited, but still claimed (none of Spains territories were relinquished in terms of sovereignty until 1836). A significant reason for the dispute is that Britain and Spain simultaneously held claims to sovereignty over the islands from 1767 and as respected in the 1771 agreement. Argentina gained it's independence unilaterally from Spain in 1816 and today claims to have asserted its sovereignty over the Falklands/ Las Malvinas from that very year, organising some settlement of the islands in the 1820s. However this is strongly disputed as there is no evidence of anyone being sent to the islands with Argentine/Buenos Aires government authority until 1823 and there was no binding universal international law at the time that supported the inheritance (Argentina refers to the principle of Uti Possidetis, but this was not the 'binding international law' just a principle). In 1833, Britain militarily evicted the Argentine garrison but did not evict the settlers and did not colonise the islands till 1841. The settlers had been given permission from the British consulate in Buenos Aires to live on the islands along with Louis Vernet in 1828. After 1833 the Buenos Aires province under governor Rosas protested to the British until 1850. In 1850 Britain and Argentina signed the Convention of Settlement Treaty which settled All differences and created Perfect relations between the two nations and the islands remained in British control. There were no further protests from Argentina until they completed their annexation of Patagonia. The Argentine goverment under President Celman tried their luck by protesting in 1888 and offering to take the matter to arbitration. However Britain refused, in view of the 1850 treaty and considered the matter was closed. The Argentine goverment did not continue the protest to Britain and there was not another protest to the British until 1941. In the 90 whole years of non-protest between 1850 and 1941, there were several adminstrative acts on the islands including the formation of a government and immigration without any interference from Argentina.

Contents

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Self-determination: Do the islanders have a right to self-determination?

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Yes

  • Argentina's historical and territorial/geographical claims to the islands are spurious. Argentina has only ever achieved effective control of the islands, as invaders, for 2 months in 1832 and 2 months in 1982. On each occassion they were ejected by the rightful owners. There has never been a population of 'Argentines' on the islands, nor was there any indigineous indians there before the British claimed the islands in 1765. The islanders are therefore the rightful people of the islands and their rights of self determination are fully protected under the UN Charters and Resolutions.
  • Brits now dominate the Malvinas; self-determination cannot apply Argentina does not recognize the right to self-determination of the inhabitants of the Malvinas/Falklands, citing that they are not aboriginal and were brought to replace the Argentine population that Argentina claims was expelled after the re-establishment of British rule in 1833. In other words, Britain illegitimately settled the Falklands and now is trying to give these settlers the right to determine their future, which would obviously favor keeping the Malvinas under the British flag. It is illegitimate, therefore, to use "self-determination" to settle this dispute. Argentina's historical and territorial/geographical claims to the islands are paramount.
  • Argentina can claim Malvinas and uphold the way of life of inhabitants. Embassy of Argentina in Australia - "The Argentine Nation ratifies its legitimate and imprescriptible sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich and the corresponding maritime and island spaces, as they are an integral part of the national territory. The recovery of said territories and the full exercise of sovereignty, respectful of the way of life of their inhabitants and in accordance with the principles of International Law, are a permanent and irrenounceable objective of the Argentine people."


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No

  • The Argentine population were not expelled, just the military personnel The Civilian population led by Louis Vernet had permission to be there, the military personnel did not. This accusation is slander as there is no evidence to back this claim
  • Argentina inspired a poll on the islands in 1994 this proves it's not the issue of self determination they disprove of it's the decision they don't like.
  • Between 1850 and 1941 there was just one isolated protest to the British over the islands sovereignty in 1888 During these 90 whole years of no protest the islanders made many administrative acts which included immigration without the slightest protest from Argentina which means acquiescence. They didn't make a protest then it's immoral they make a protest now.
  • The Argentine government conquered land from the native peoples in South America years after the British re-establishment, prompting hypocrisy The fact these people who are mostly white are accusing anyone of stealing land would make a horse laugh. BsAs control grew from the province of BsAs in 1810 to a nation the size of India in 80 years, annexing much land from the native peoples in particular Patagonia. They themselves mounted a campaign of implanting populations in Patagonia during the 1850-1888 period to seize control of land that was left by the Spanish and South American governments for the natives without their consultation. These implanted people, many ironically of British decent (Welsh) are perfectly entitled to Self-Determination according to the Argentine government.


  • Falkland Islanders have a right to self-determination Dr. Lyubomir Ivanov. "The Future Of The Falkland Islands And Its People". Feb. 2003 - "The Falklanders are a nation same like the Scots, the Welsh or the English -- or the people of Tokelau for that matter. Moreover, their right to self-determination has already been officially and formally recognized and guaranteed by the British Government through the process of enacting the 1985 Falklands Constitution. This act of transfer of prerogatives from London to Stanley entails that any future decisions regarding the sovereignty of the Islands would be up to the Falklanders alone to make, and this is irreversible. Once recognized/granted, the self-determination cannot be taken away."
  • Argentina’s allegations are unproven in an international tribunal Unless Argentina's allegations are proven in an international Court the Islanders cannot be subject to any sanctions of any kind regardless. Argentina has deliberately avoided taking the matter to the International Court of Justice, attempting to use the 'veto' excuse. This of course is nonsense, as it never stopped Cameroon taking Britain to the ICJ in 1971 and the USA and USSR taking each other. Argentina recently took Uruguay to the ICJ.
  • Falkland Islands adopted a motion to remain British in 1977. In 1977 the Falkland Islands Legislative Council adopted a motion that conveyed the will of the inhabitants to remain British. Therefore, the people of the Falkland Islands and their representatives have already excercised their right of self-determination, and determined to remain British.
  • The vast majority of Falkland Islanders want to remain British. The wishes of the current inhabitants of the islands should be paramount. The islanders overwhelmingly consider themselves British and do not want to be ruled by Argentina. In an Argentine-inspired poll in 1994, 87% of the island's population rejected any form of discussion of sovereignty under any circumstances. Their right of self-determination should be respected. Unless and until the islanders want to be ruled by Argentina, Britain should not abandon them.
  • Britain expelled the military garrison in 1833, but did not expel the colony. There is ample evidence that Vernet's colony was not expelled during the British take over and not a shred of evidence that it was. Population Evolution for links regarding the evolution of the population from 1826 - 1834, before and after British takeover.
  • Rights to self-determination not limited to aboriginal peoples. There is nothing in international law or in any UN resolution that limits the rights of self-determination to territories with aboriginal peoples. In fact several territories that are or were on the UN's list of Non Self-Governing Territories do not have aboriginal populations: Currently on the list: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena (inc Tristan da Cunha), Turks and Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands. Formerly on the list: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Cabo Verde, Cocos Islands, Guadaloupe, Jamaica, Martinique, Mauritius, Réunion, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Seychelles
  • Spain's prerogative to complain about Britain's actions in 1833 not Argentina's. In 1833 Spain had not relinquished her own claim to the Falklands, in fact she did not begin to relinquish any of her territories in the Americas till 1836, did not recognise Argentina till 1859, and when she recognised Argentina no transfer or cession of sovereignty over the Falklands took place, so it was Spain's prerogative to complain about what Britain did in 1833 not Argentina's. And Spain never did.


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Geography: Do the Falklands belong to Argentina on the basis of geography?

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Yes

  • Geography is irrelevant. Just because somewhere looks close on a map of the world does not mean that they should belong to the nearest greater land mass. A childish argument that has no relevance to any serious debate about the islanders rights and freedoms.
  • The Malvinas are far closer to Argentina (300m) than Britain (8000m). The Malvinas are closer to Argentina than any other country in the world (300 miles). They are, however, on the other side of the Earth from Britain (8000 miles away). Modern nation states should not have territorial claims on the other side of the Earth, particularly when a modern nation state directly adjacent to the territory under consideration claims the territory. In this sense of the relative distance of the Malvinas islands from Britain and Argentina, Britain's claim to the islands is reminiscent of Britain's colonial past, is wrong, and should be ended.
  • The Malvinas Islands are part of the South American continental shelf. Argentina claims the islands partly on the basis of the fact that the Malvinas are on the South American continental shelf, adjacent to the Argentinian coast. Because the islands are geographically contiguous with the South American continent, they should be either owned by Argentina or become entirely independent. Again, British ownership of these South American islands is reminiscent of its colonial past, is wrong, and should be ended.[1]


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No

  • There are plenty of overseas territories from several different nations all over the world that are not disputed by the other closest nations. The islands are also 0 miles from the islanders who are self governing.


  • Argentina has an imperial past After recognition from Spain, Argentina began the annexation of Patagonia which was left to the native people and involved genocide. They are in no position to lecture the British on imperialism. Even though Argentina is still considerably closer to the Islands the UK, This annexation process inevitably brought the islands closer to BsAs control.


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Discovery: Did Spain or Britain first discover the Falklands/Malvinas?

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Yes

  • A few notable dates : 1690 – the waterway between the two islands is named ‘Falkland Sound’ by Captain John Strong from the ship Welfare. 1712 – the name ‘Falkland Islands’ is used in a publication describing the Welfare’s journey. 1716 – a French map refers to the islands as ‘Les Isles Nouvelles’. 1722 – a new French map refers to the islands as ‘Les Iles Malouines’. 1764 – France founds a settlement on the Falkland Islands at Port Loius but makes no formal claim. 1765 – Captain John Byron explores the islands and claims them for King George III as the Falkland Islands. 1766 – Captain John MacBride founds the settlement of Port Egmont , named after the sponsor of the Byron expedition. Cattle, goats, sheep and pigs taken to the islands. 1767 – France cedes Port Louis to Spain in exchange for compensation. Port Louis is renamed Puerto Soledad. Captain John McBride of HMS Jason is Military Commander of Port Egmont. Spain only seems to have noticed the islands in 1767.
  • Spanish explorer Megellan was first to discover Malvinas Embassy of Argentina in Australia - "For most of the 16th century only navigators in the service of Spain traveled the maritime routes along the South American coast, advancing southwards in their search for an inter-oceanic passage. In this process the Malvinas Islands were discovered by members of Magellan’s expedition of 1520. From that moment on they were recorded on European maps under a variety of names and remained under effective control of the Spanish authorities."


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No

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History of sovereignty: Had Spain controlled the Malvinas more than Britain?

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Yes

  • Spain's discovery and control of Malvinas was recognized in treaties Embassy of Argentina in Australia - "For most of the 16th century only navigators in the service of Spain travelled the maritime routes along the South American coast, advancing southwards in their search for an inter-oceanic passage. In this process the Malvinas Islands were discovered by members of Magellan’s expedition of 1520. From that moment on they were recorded on European maps under a variety of names and remained under effective control of the Spanish authorities."
  • Spain had purchased the Islands from France in 1767. France was the first country to establish a settlement on the Islands. By international law, mere sightings of new territories are considered insufficient to establish legal claim to them. On the basis of the Treaty of Utrecht, signed in 1713, England and France formally agreed to Spanish sovereignty over its traditional territories in the Americas, including the Islands, Spain had objected. France, Spain's ally, was willing to negotiate and sold Port Louis to Spain in 1767.
  • Spain peacefully occupied Malvinas until Argentinian independence in 1816. The Islands were peacefully occupied and administered by 19 Spanish governors from 1774 until Argentina declared independence in 1816.
  • Argentina built public facilities on the Malvinas Islands. Permanent settlements were built by Argentina in the 1820s. Previous settlements by France, Spain and Britain had been impermanent. Britain did not protest when the Argentinean settlements were first established. The Argentinean settlements were only ended by illegal British military force. Britain’s subsequent settlement of the islands was therefore illegal.
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No

  • Britain has peacefully controlled the Falklands for two centuries. Spain had control over Puerto Soledad between 1767 and 1811 and never ventured outside of that restricted area as deemed by the agreement of 1771. After 1811, Spain never returned and effectively abandoned its claim. The British claim runs from 1765 and has never been abandoned, having been continued, in the absence of a garrison, by whaling and sealing ventures. Having peacefully controlled the Falkland islands for nearly two-hundred years now (since 1833), Britain has upheld the doctrine of prescription, which states that sovereignty of a territory can be established by peaceful occupation over a period of time.[2]
  • Argentina's historical claim to the Falklands is too outdated. Nations often can claim that they, or their ancestors, once controlled a territory. But, if all of these claims were recognized, the world's boundaries would be in turmoil, as many separate peoples would have a legitimate claim to some territory. To get around this problem, we must give precedent to more modern and contemporary historical claims. Since Britain has controlled the Falklands for nearly two-hundred years, its claim takes precedence. Moreover the arguement is backed by the unanimous support of the islanders themselves claiming to be British citizens.


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Abandoned claims: Did Britain ever abandon its claim to the Falklands?

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Yes

  • Britain abandoned the Malvinas between 1774 and 1833. British did not claim the Islands when Spain left them in 1811. Britain recognized Argentina's independence in 1825 but made no claim at that time to the Islands which were then governed by Argentina.
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No

  • Britain did not abandon its claim, it evacuated the settlement. The islands were regularly settled for short periods of time by English whalers and sealers. Evacuating the islands but visiting regularly can hardly be seen as 'abandonment'. When Jewett made his 'claim' on behalf of Argentina, there were already 50 U.s. and British ships at anchor.
  • The 1820-1825 Jewett/treaty story is a fallacy. The British had no reason to believe Argentina had inherited the islands in 1816 as there was no BsAs authority on the islands at the time of independence. The claim Argentina took possession of the Islands in 1820 with the arrival of the American Privateer David Jewett is also a falsehood. There is no evidence of the Argentine government giving Jewett orders to take possession of those Islands, so it obviously couldn’t be taken as so by anyone present on the islands. When Jewett returned he wrote a report mentioning nothing of the claim. Also the then BsAs government made no public announcement of the ‘taking of possession’, so there could be no reaction. When the UK signed that treaty in 1825, there was nobody from Argentina on those islands, so there was no authority to recognise. The treaty made no reference to the extent of the BsAs controlled territory let alone mentions the islands. http://www.wildisland.gs/atlantis/gettingitright.pdf
  • Britains rights are not justified by only a plaque, that is a ridiculous assertion. They are justified by the 1771 agreement with Spain where both nations respected each others rights to the islands. As long as Spain had rights Britain also had rights unless the treaty was cancelled by agreement. See page 7 http://www.wildisland.gs/atlantis/gettingitright.pdf
"...Britain had protested the Government of Buenos Aires' 1828 appointment of Louis Vernet as governor of the Islands and asserted at that time that the British Crown had not permanently abandoned the Islands when they left them in 1774."
  • Spain vacated her settlement in 1811. Any argument against Britain allegedly abandoning its claim to the Falklands is negated by the fact that Spain abandoned its settlements in the Malvinas in 1811. If both abandoned there claims for some period of time, neither can use the other's abandonment of the islands as evidence for their side. If Spain was the only one to abandon its claim to the Falklands, Britain can use this argument in its favor.
  • Britain secured it's rights with the Spanish in the 1771 agreement. This agreement could only be cancelled by agreement of the two nations. As long as Spain had rights the British had rights too. Physical abandonment does not mean political abandonment in a sovereignty case regardless.


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1833: Did Britain acquire the Falklands by illegitimate means then?

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Yes


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No

  • Vernet and his settlers had British permission to be on the islands. The Argentine forces did not and they were expelled. Britains rights to the islands were secured by the 1771 agreement and the intervention of a third party (BsAs authority) on the islands allowed the UK's return under the Nookta sound convention. There was no binding universal law or tribunial that proved Spain and Britain lost their rights to the islands or that BsAs had gained them.
  • Britain acted entirely legally. Vernett's settlement was with the permission of the British Consul who had been approached by Vernett. There is some evidence that Vernett was playing both sides against the middle. Not that Vernett's settlement was affected by the British actions in 1833. HMS Clio required only the trespassing Argentine garrison to leave and that garrison had only been on the islands 2 months. Charles Dawin's diary clearly shows that on his visit on 1st March 1833 there were 22 'settlers' most of whom were Argentine workers for Vernett. He also mentioned one Englishman who had been on the islands "for some years". Vernett added 7 more workers to the settlement shortly afterwards. In ejecting the illegal Argentine garrison, HMS Clio was asserting the British claim of 1765. Jewett's claim of the islands for 'Argentina' in 1820 cannot stand because: a)the claim was for the United Provinces of South America which had ceased to exist as a unified 'nation' that same year, and went on to become Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay, b) the islands already had two claimants neither of which had 'abandoned' their claims, and c) in the eyes of the two existing claimants, Spain and Britain, there was no such place as 'Argentina' (recognised by the British in 1825 and Spain in 1859). As such Jewett was merely restating the Spanish claim.
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Argentinian independence: Did Argentina inherit the Malvinas upon gaining independence?

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Yes

  • Argentina properly inherited the Islands from Spain in 1816. The Malvinas Islands were formerly ruled by Spain from Buenos Aires. When Argentina gained independence in 1816, it naturally inherited the Malvinas Islands from Spain.


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No

  • Argentina's inheritance claim is self righteous as there was no binding universal international law at that time, meaning no rights for inheriting land they did not control during their unilateral independence Uti Possidetis juris was not international law until the 1940's. The ancient theory of Uti Posseditis what was never the international law at the time. It was just a theory or 'principle' back then as there was no no binding universal international law in the 1800's to control nations. So this claim is nothing more than a self righteous falsehood, and cannot be legally binding. It was never Argentina's right, especially when they never controlled it during the independence period.
  • Argentina’s independence was unilateral; no claim to Falklands. A unilateral state is only entitled to claim what it controls at the time of independence nothing more, and that has never been any different. There is no evidence of anyone being ordered to travel to those island by BsAs authority until 1823, 7 years after your own unilateral independence of 1816. Argentina tried to colonise the islands that's the truth. Argentina often attempts to make the comparison with the USA's independence claim. However this is false as the USA only claimed what they controlled what at the time of independence, the 13 states.
  • Spain did not recognise Argentina until 1859, 26 years after Britain had reasserted its earlier claim. It is highly debatable whether a revolting colony can inherit anything and in Spain's recognition of Argentina it failed to provide for any inheritance. Indeed how can anyone inherit something that's long been lost?
  • Unilateral secession does not confer rights of territorial inheritance. A territorial inheritance or succession requires a territorial cession. Argentina achieved its independence by violent means against the opposition of Spain who did not begin the recognise the independence of any of her American colonies till 1836. When she recognised Argentina in 1859, no cession of sovereignty over the Falklands took place. Argentina can no more inherit what Spain never ceded to her, than a man can inherit from his father what his father never left him in his will.
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Secret deal: Did Britain secretly agree to give the Malvinas to Argentina?

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Yes

  • Britain secretly promised to abandon its claim before 1771. Britain made these promises during negotiations leading to the peace declarations of 1771.
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No

  • The terms 'prepared' 'will' and 'draft'are not binding just speculation. Since the implementation of resolution 1514 the British government has always maintained it would only transfer sovereignty if the population requested it. Spain recognised Britains rights to the islands in 1771 allowing the British to physically leave the islands. This agreement can only be cancelled mutually. Physical abandonment does not mean politcal abandonment. Argentina claims the islands are theirs despite the fact nobody with BsAs authority orders to do so, set one foot on the islands until 1823 (7 years after independence and 13 after taking control of BsAs)

(P7) http://www.wildisland.gs/atlantis/gettingitright.pdf

  • Actually it went something like this: 1769 – Captain Anthony Hunt, HMS Tamar is Military Commander of Port Egmont. (Nov) Hunt requires a Spanish schooner seen surveying the area, to leave. The Governor of Puerto Soledad objects, stating that the islands are Spanish. Captain Hunt responds by indicating that the islands are British by right of first discovery and settlement.
1770 – Hunt returns to Britain leaving Captain Farmer in command of the garrison. (June) Hunt brings the first message of Spanish claims to the government. (4th) 5 frigates, 1600 men, 27 cannon, 4 mortars and 200 bombs under the command of Madariaga arrive from Buenos Aries to force the British to leave. (10th) A few shots are exchanged and the outnumbered British commander capitulates. (Aug) Madrid receives notice of the action. (Oct) Britain confirms the information and prepares for war. Negotiations between the British and Spanish courts commence.
1771 - Without French support the Spanish back down and the Ambassador to Britain, Prince Masseran, delivers a declaration stating that the Spanish King "disavows the violent enterprise of Buccarelli," and promises "to restore the port and fort called Egmont, with all the artillery and stores, according to the inventory." The injury was acknowledged and satisfied. The Spanish stated that their ‘satisfaction’ did not “ … preclude the question of prior right …” This preservation of a Spanish claim caused an outcry in Britain in answer to which Samuel Johnson prepared his ‘Thoughts on the Late Transactions Respecting Falkland’s Islands 1771’. The British return to Port Egmont. Spain also maintains its settlement at Puerto Soledad, administered by Buenos Aries.
  • There is no evidence of any agreement to hand the islands over to the Spanish. Indeed, as Spain had backed down, there were recriminations within Britain as to why more concessions had not been demanded. Suggestions of any agreement is a fantasy. The 'satisfaction' demanded, and granted, was a return to the status quo.
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Nootka Sound Convention: Did Britain renounce its claim to South American islands?

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Yes

  • Argentina always claimed the Falklands; Britain once renounced its claim. Great Britain abandoned its settlement in 1776, and formally renounced sovereignty in the Nootka Sound Convention. Argentina has always claimed the Falklands, and never renounced its claim.
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No

  • Britain never renounced it's claim the Nookta Sound treaty supported the 1771 agreement. Also Argentine did renounce it's claim by failing to protest for two lengthy periods and by an all encompassing treaty between the two nations. After 1833 the Buenos Aires province under governor Rosas protested to the British until 1850. In 1850 Britain and Argentina signed the Convention of Settlement Treaty which settled All differences and created Perfect relations between the two nations and the islands remained in British control. There were no further protests from Argentina until they completed their annexation of Patagonia. The then Argentine goverment under President Celman tried their luck by protesting in 1888 and offering to take the matter to arbitration. However Britain refused, in view of the 1850 treaty and considered the matter was closed. The Argentine goverment did not continue the protest to Britain and there was not another protest to the British until 1941. In the 90 whole years of non-protest between 1850 and 1941, there were several adminstrative acts on the islands including the formation of a government and immigration without any interference from Argentina. Failure to protest is a form of acceptance.
  • In the 1771 agreement both the UK and Spain, respected each others claim for the islands The Nookta Spund convention was signed after in 1790 and the 1771 agreement was not nullified but respected. It is also only for the Spanish to protest against.
  • Nootka Sound Convention does not apply to UK in Falklands. It is debatable that it applies to the Falklands. It refers to adjacent islands. The Falklands at 300 nautical miles from Argentina are not adjacent to Argentina. Second, it was suspended in 1795 due to war between the two countries. It may or may not have been renewed in 1814 after the war. Third, it's a reciprocal treaty. Both countries, Spain as well as Great Britain (the respective subjects), were forbidden to form establishments on the coasts mentioned. Spain, by forming settlements late 18th -early 19th century in what is now San Clemente del Tuyú (directly south of the Banda Oriental -now Uruguay), was in breach of the Convention. See the argument page for an extension of this argument.
  • The Nookta Sound convention did not affect Britains rights to the islands as they already had an agreement with Spain where both nations rights were secured in 1771. On the contrary, when Argentina interfered this allowed Britain to intervene as they were a third party, and had no right to be there. In any case a treaty can only be cancelled by mutual agreement and it is only up to the parties involved to protest if they feel it has been breached. This has nothing to do with Argentina.


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1982 War: Were Britain's actions in the 1982 war illegitimate?

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Yes

  • Britain sent its soldiers to fight an unjust war in the Falkland Islands. Their sacrifices do not make British occupation of the islands legal. Indeed, Britain’s conduct of that war has been much questioned, in particular the sinking of the Argentine ship General Belgrano when it was many miles from the combat zone and heading away from it, and the mysterious deaths of some surrendered Argentine soldiers.
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No

  • The British had permission from the UN to use reasonable force to retake the islands. The Junta was ordered to remove their forces from the islands under Resolution 502. As this did not happen the British forces intervened. As for the Belgrano it was outside of that exclusion zone but that was no law! Britain had the right to attack anything in self defence including Military bases in Argentina if need be.
  • The Argentines invaded British territory. They were removed just as they had been when they invaded in 1832. As with their restution of claim in the 1940's the Argentine Government acts when it thinks that Britain is weak and unprepared to defend its outposts. They were wrong on two occassions. It remains to be seen whether they'll go for a hat trick!
  • Returning the Falkland Islands would be an insult to dead soldiers. 6. If Britain returned the islands, it would be a profound insult to the soldiers who fought and died to liberate them in 1982. The campaign was honourably fought in defence of the rights of the people of the Falkland Islands to determine their own future. It was fought against a military dictatorship which used the campaign in a cynical attempt to divert domestic attention away from its oppressive, corrupt and incompetent rule. One of the positive consequences of British victory was that the military junta fell from power and Argentina became democratic. So Britain, Argentina and the Falkland islanders all have cause to celebrate the outcome of the 1982-83 war.
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Decolonization: Is returning the Malvinas consistent with decolonization?

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Yes

  • British occupation of Malvinas Islands perpetuates colonialism Britain's control over the Falkland islands, a group of islands thousands of miles away, appears colonial in nature. This is bad for Britain's image and its post-war policy of decolonisation, which has seen it withdraw from almost every other colonial possession since 1945. Not only has Britain withdrawn from India, Africa, Malaysia and much of the Caribbean, it has also handed back Hong Kong to China – surely a similar case to that of the Falkland islands and Argentina.
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No

  • The UN resolution that deals with decoloization (1514) does not demand it if the inhabitants don't want it, simple. The suggestion Britain and other nations with overseas territorites are judged badly for it is nonsense. One of the Worlds biggest sporting events is the Commonweath games, where 17 dependencies proudly participate along with 54 other nations without any animosity from anyone.
  • You cannot return what was never theirs. The inheritance never happened, just a false claim. Argentina’s claims are also unproven in an international tribunal. Unless Argentina's claim is proven in an international Court the Islanders cannot be subject to any sanctions of any kind regardless. The Argentine government has avoided the International Court of Justice on the issue despite using them for a recent dispute with Uruguay.
  • Taking a 'colony' from one coloniser and giving it to another can hardly be right. The islanders have a right to self determination under the UN Charters and Resolutions. Independence is the only alternative.
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Legality: Is it legal for Britain to occupy the Falkland Islands?

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Yes

  • The Islands have been British since 1833. There really is no debate about this. Some of the historical facts can be picked over but the reality is that the islands have been British, solely British, since 1833. Can't get much more legal than the reality of that.
  • Britain’s occupation of the Falklands was/is illegal. Both Argentina and the islands were ruled by Spain. Spain ruled the islands from Argentina – they were therefore part of the same territory. Upon independence from Spain, Argentina rightfully asserted sovereignty over the former Spanish territory. Britain did not claim sovereignty over the islands when Spain left them in 1811. Nor did Britain immediately challenge Argentina’s assertion of sovereignty in 1816. For these reasons, Britain's invasion and occupation of the Falkland Islands in 1833 was illegal under international law; Britain could not make a legitimate claim to the country.
  • Spain gave Argentina sovereignty over the Falkand Islands. Sovereignty of the islands was transferred to Argentina from Spain upon independence, a principle known as uti possidetis juris.
  • The "Falklands" are the Malvinas and are part of Argentina. President Kirchner - "The Malvinas are Argentine and they will return to Argentina by peaceful means."[3]
  • Legitimate negotiations over the Falklands must be done through UN. Argentine Vice-President Daniel Scioli said in 2007, "Once again, we urge the United Kingdom to heed international calls and resume negotiations in the appropriate manner, through the United Nations."[4]
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No

  • There was no binding universal international law in the 1800's that supports Argentina's inheritance claim and plenty of evidence to support Britains The only international laws where treaties amoungst nations. Argentinas claim of uti posseditis is a self-righteous fallacy as there was no binding universal international law back then that supported it. Argentina never got it's independence in 1816 through devolution, it was unilateral. A unilateral state can only claim what it controls at the time of independence, nothing more. There is no evidence of anyone being ordered by the BsAs government to go to the islands before independence or 1823 (that includes Jewett in 1820). The UK's rights to the islands were recognised by Spain in 1771 and it's right to return by third party intervention (Nookta Sound Treaty) http://www.wildisland.gs/atlantis/gettingitright.pdf
  • Britain first claimed the Falklands in 1690 and never renounced the claim. Britain never accepted the Spanish claim to sovereignty, based on the purchase of the islands from France. Britain asserted sovereignty when it left the islands in 1774, leaving a plaque. It therefore had no need to re-assert sovereignty when Spain left in 1811. Britain’s claim far predates Argentina’s. Argentina had no right to assert sovereignty over the islands in 1816.
  • Britain offered to take Argentina's claim to the Falklands to the ICJ. Following the Argentine claim, the United Kingdom offered to take the dispute to mediation at the International Court of Justice in the Hague (1947, 1948 and 1955), on each occasion Argentina declined.
  • The Falklands have been continuously occupied by the UK since 1833. The exception to this long period of nearly two centuries of British occupation of the Falkland Islands was a two month illegal occupation of the islands by Argentina.
  • Argentina never really attempted to colonize the Falklands. Its attempts to colonize the Falklands 1820-33 were "sporadic and ineffectual".
  • The British were the first to settle in the Falkland Islands. There was no settlement, indigenous or otherwise, before the British came to the Falklands.
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Strategic Value: Is it necessary for Britain to continue its occupation of the islands?

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Yes

  • Economically, the islands will be an energy asset to Britain.If military costs are excluded, the islands are self-supporting. They are of great value because they bring rights to fishing and oil exploration. If the oil that has been detected in the islands’ territory can be extracted economically, the islands will be an even greater asset to Britain.
  • Strategically, the islands is a NATO airbase in the south Atlantic.
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No

  • The islands no longer has strategic value to Britain. The islands are of minimal value to Britain. In an era of satellites and long-range ships and aircraft, the islands no longer have strategic value. Maintaining a garrison there is an unnecessary expense. Jorge Luis Borges (an Argentinean writer) likened the 1982 conflict to ‘two bald men fighting over a comb’.
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Diplomacy: Will returning the islands UK-Argentina-South American relations?

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Yes

  • Argentina-UK relations will be strained until the Falklands are returned. Former Argentinian president Nestor Kirchner declared on 2 April 2006, that Argentina's claim to the Falklands is "permanent and cannot be renounced."[5] In 2008, pressure by the Argentinian government was ramped up even more on the issue. Until the Malvinas are returned, it would appear that the issue will continue to be a major source of strain between the UK and Argentina.
  • Returning the Falklands to Argentina would improve US-relations with the region. Returning the islands would vastly improve Britain’s relationship with Argentina and Latin America as a whole. This would help Britain’s diplomatic and economic ties with the region.
  • British possession of the Falklands causes tension and risks war. The British possession of the Falklands resulted in a war with Argentina over the islands in 1983. There is a real possibility that another war could break out in the coming decades. If Britain returns the islands to Argentina, this risk will be entirely eliminated.
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No

  • The issue has no real effect over Argentine-British relations in other areas There has never been or is there likely to be any sanctions imposed against the British by Argentina, let alone South America. Trade between the two nations is like any other outside the EU as is travel, sporting competitions and immigration issues. The British Bank HSBC has a tower in close and clear view of the Plaza de Mayo and Casa Posada government house. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Plaza_de_Mayo_0022.jpg The fact that anyone would think this issue effects any relations in any capacity with the other Latin American nations to Britain’s regret is completely without evidence and proves the sheer magnitude of the ignorance and arrogance of these people.
  • Relations with Argentina are not important to Britain. Britain already has a working relationship with Argentina. In 2001, Tony Blair became the first British prime minister to visit Argentina since the 1982 conflict. The agreements made with the Menem government show the potential for peaceful cooperation without returning the islands. Kirchner’s sabre-rattling will probably decline after the presidential election in 2007. In any case, direct relations with Argentina are of little strategic or economic importance to Britain, except where they affect the Falkland Islands. Trade policy is handled on both sides at a supra-national level, through the EU and Mercosur respectively. The Falkland Islands are simply not like other examples of decolonisation. Elsewhere Britain has given independence to the indigenous peoples of its former colonial possessions, responding to their desire for self-determination. The Falklands have no indigenous population – their inhabitants regard themselves as British in identity and have no desire to be ruled by Argentina.
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Precedent: Would returning the Falklands set a bad precedent?

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Yes

  • Returning the islands would not be a sign that violence and threats are legitimate. It would be recognition of the justice of Argentina’s claim and the illegality of Britain’s occupation of the islands. In fact, it would show that illegal acts of violence, like that of 1833, will eventually be overturned.
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No

  • You can't return something that was never theirs If the Argentine government has no doubts about their claim, they should have no doubts about taking the matter to the International Court of Justice like Cameroon did against Britain in 1971. The idea the Junta invaded those islands knowing full well they could have taken them legally or at the very least proved their case in a courtroom, is beggars belief.
  • Returning the islands would imply that violence and threats are legitimate ways to conduct diplomacy. Britain would be giving in to the invasion of 1982 and Kirchner’s more recent rhetoric. This would set a dangerous precedent that Britain will abandon its interests if threatened.
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Pro/con resources

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Yes

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No

  • Richard Gott. "Argentina's claim on the Falklands is still a good one". The Guardian. 2 Apr. 2007

It must be stated in regards to the above article that Richard Gott begins his article by saying "Nearly 40 years ago, in November 1968, I travelled to the Falklands with a group of diplomats in what was Britain's first and last attempt to get shot of the islands"

In more polite and respectful terms he means to discuss with the islanders the possibility of handing over the Islands.

This of course is inaccurate as is most of what he follows with. The British government sent people again in 1979 and 1980 for the same purpose. If interested please read the following link for evidence of this

http://www.falklands.info/history/history6.html

This creates the question of credibility as this was his opening sentence....

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International: What is international opinion regarding the Falkland Islands?

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Yes

  • Spain supports Argentina's claim to the Malvinas islands., although part of the European Union, has given tacit support to the Argentine claim, voting in the Argentine interest in UN Security Council votes during the Falklands War.


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No

  • In 65 years of the United Nations, Argentina has failed to get any substantial support Out of 192 UN member nations, only 33 (17%) support Argentina's mandate for sovereignty change. All of them are members of the OAS. Spain has never formally supported Argentina's claim. Chile has had a consulate on the islands.


  • The European Union classes the Falklands as a special overseas territory, subject to EU law in some areas, and eligible for some European funding initiatives. The inclusion of the islands in an appendix to the proposed European constitution provoked a hostile Argentine response.
  • France has been particularly supportive of the British position, and provided invaluable help to the British military on the French supplied aircraft and missiles of the Argentine military during the Falklands War. France is also motivated by the fact that it, like the UK, retains many overseas territories that are subject to rival sovereignty claims including the Glorioso Islands, Mayotte and Tromelin.
  • The Commonwealth of Nations recognises the Falklands as British territory. The Falkland Islands are not represented in the Commonwealth as they are not an independent state, but they do participate in the Commonwealth Games.
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Pro/con videos

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Yes

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No

Motions:

  • This House believes Britain should return the Falkland Islands
  • This House would let Argentina say ‘Gotcha’ about the Falkland Islands
  • This House believes that one bald man should give the comb to the other
  • That Britain should cede control of Las Malvinas to Argentina
  • That Argentina should give up its spurious claims and recognise the right of the islanders
  • This House believes that the Argentine government and associated historians must stop omitting evidence from their people. The Argentine people have every right to know the truth about Louis Vernet obtaining British permission for a land grant on the islands, the 1771 agreement with Spain and the Convention of Settlement treaty of 1850 and its legalities.
  • This House believes that the Argentine government and associated historians must stop manipulating evidence for their people. There was no binding universal international law in the 1800’s that gave BsAs the right to control those islands, and at most BsAs only had the right to control what it did at independence in 1816 nothing more.
  • This House believes that the Argentine government and associated historians must stop manipulating the maps of the islands. The place names on the Argentine maps like ‘Puerto Argentino’ were not created by the Spanish, Vernet or the pre-1833 BsAs government but by the military Junta of the 1970’s.
  • This House believes that if the Argentine government and associated historians insist on mentioning the pre-1771 history that the 1771 agreement between the UK and Spain makes irrelevant in this dispute, they do so in respect of the Native American peoples. The Pope had no right to give anyone the Americas as they did not belong to him. It was an immoral conquest, pure and simple. The native peoples had their own civilisations whether white people past or present respect it or not, that was stolen from them and involved mass genocide that didn’t stop at the beginning of Argentine independence either. This is a very arrogant view, that is ignorant and deeply offensive to the native peoples.
  • This House believes that the Argentine government and associated historians should stop lying to their people, about Argentina’s rights within the UN mandate and Resolution 2065. It is a non-binding Resolution and only ‘suggests’ and ‘requests’ negotiations. It does not demand anything from either nation or state who the beneficiaries should be and to what extent. The UN will always produce non-binding resolutions for any dispute regardless of it's credibilty. That's why it exists.
  • This House believes that the Argentine government and associated historians should stop lying to their people, about Argentina’s rights within the UN mandate and Resolution 1514’s article about territorial integrity that it supports their claim. All of Argentina’s allegations are for now at least just allegations that have very convincing and arguably definitive answers against them from the British. The matter has never been decided in an international court or tribunal. To operate like it has and is a motion and a forgone conclusion is a falsehood, ridiculous and arrogant.
  • This House believes that the Argentine government and associated historians must from now on be honest when describing international law both past and present, especially in regards to the Uti Possidetis principle allegation and its flaws. There was no binding universal international law at that time, meaning BsAs had no ‘legal rights’ for inheriting land they did not control during their unilateral independence. Uti Possidetis juris was not international law until the 1940's. The ancient theory of Uti Possidetis was just a theory or 'principle' in the 1800’s it was not law that could bind nations and force them into submission.
  • This House believes that the Argentine government and associated historians must recognise their ridiculous unconvincing arrogance and stop debating like they have global support when that is far from the case. Only 33 out of 192 UN members fully support Argentina claim, that’s 17% and they are all Latin America nations.
  • This House believes that the Argentine government and associated historians must stop lying to their people, about Argentina’s claim being continuous. In an international forum a nation must make regular protests to keep a claim alive.

Argentina dropped all protest to Britain after the signing of the Convention of Settlement treaty of 1850 which settled ALL differences and created PERFECT relations between the two nations (ALL and PERFECT meaning nothing less than ALL and PERFECT). The Celman administration tried their luck with a one-off protest in 1888 which was refused in view of the treaty and there were no further protests until 1941. In total 90 whole years of no protest. Therefore, not only is Argentina's claim not continuous, but in all it constitutes less than half the time since 1833. Failure to protest is a form of acquiescence legally, and there were several administrative acts on the Islands such as the formation of a government and immigrations that did not prompt any protest from BsAs whatsoever.

  • This House believes that Slander in the form of wrongfully accusing a nation of genocide is a very serious offence and cannot be allowed to continue. There is not a shred of evidence to prove the civilians on the islands in 1833 were expelled just the military personnel who had no permission to be there. The civilians were part of Vernet’s group and were not expelled as they had permission from the British consulate in Buenos Aires to be there (1828)
  • This House believes that the Argentine government should take appropriate measure to stop their media from commiting falsehoods about this dispute. Especially when it comes to stating that the permanent UN Security council members support Argentinas claim when they have stated nothing more than they support the concept of negotiations.
  • This House believes that the Argentine government and associated historians should stop trying to fob off associations with the Junta regime and state that as it was illegal, today’s Argentina should not be held accountable for it. The Post-Junta democratic government has never apologised for their actions and accused in court General Galteri of ‘mishandling’ the 82’ war not the ‘action’ of war. Also they have supported and dealt in legal terms with other unelected human rights abusing regimes (Cuba and Chile).
  • This House believes that if the Argentine government are honest they would take the matter to the International Court Justice as they did with Uruguay. Cameroon did it against the UK in 1971. There is no excuse. If the Argentine claim was legitimate the Argentine government would have forced the British in to submission decades ago and sadly before the 82' war too.

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