Falkland Islands to hold referendum on sovereignty News
Falkland Islands to hold referendum on sovereignty
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[JURIST] The government of the Falkland Islands [official website; JURIST news archive] announced [press release] on Tuesday that it will hold a referendum on its political status close to its 30-year anniversary of independence from Argentina’s occupation in 1982. Gavin Short, chairman of the islands’ legislative assembly, expressed the archipelago’s view of its sovereignty from Argentina:

I have no doubt that the people of the Falklands wish for the Islands to remain a self-governing Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom. We certainly have no desire to be ruled by the Government in Buenos Aires, a fact that is immediately obvious to anyone who has visited the Islands and heard our views. But we are aware that not everyone is able to come to these beautiful Islands and to see this reality for themselves. And the Argentine Government deploys misleading rhetoric that wrongly implies that we have no strong views or even that we are being held hostage by the UK military. This is simply absurd.

The referendum will be held in the first half of 2013, and Short invited international communities to join to observe the process. More specific details will be added during the next few weeks, according to the chairman. UK Prime Minister David Cameron [official website] expressed his support for the referendum and its result.

Falkland Island has been under British rule since 1833 except the 1982 occupation by Argentina. Argentina and the UK have been in dispute about the rule over the archipelago. The UK has accused Argentina of imposing economic blockade on the islands by turning away [Guardian report] cruise ships carrying the British flag and taking legal action [Daily Mail report] against five British companies exploring the coast of the island for oil. The British and Falkland Islands governments announced [JURIST report] in November 2008 that they agreed on a new constitution for the Falkland Islands. The new constitution would give the local government primary governing power while leaving British governor to the territory the power to veto the islands’ actions “in the interests of good governance,” as well as authority over certain sectors including defense, security, and the judiciary.