Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Overseas territory of UK (claimed by Argentina)
Joined United Nations: 24 October 1945
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 24 July 2012
3,140 (July 2008 est.)
Elizabeth II of United Kingdom
Queen since 6 February 1952
The monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
Chief Executive since 1 February 2012
Executive Council; three members elected by the Legislative
Council, two ex officio members (chief executive and the
financial secretary), and the governor
elections: none; the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed
by the monarch
|DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Christian 67.2%, none 31.5%, other 1.3% (2006 census)
Overseas territory of the United Kingdom; also claimed by Argentina . No administrative divisions. Legal system is
English Common Law
Executive: - Executive Council; three members elected by the Legislative Council, two ex officio members (chief
executive and the financial secretary), and the governor
elections: none; the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch
Legislative: unicameral Legislative Council (10 seats - two ex officio, eight elected by popular vote, members serve
four-year terms); presided over by the governor
Elections: Last held 5 November 2009 (next to be held November 2013)
Judicial: Supreme Court (chief justice is a nonresident); Magistrates Court (senior magistrate presides over civil and
criminal divisions); Court of Summary Jurisdiction
The islands were uninhabited when they were first discovered by European explorers. There is disputed evidence of
prior settlement by humans, based on the existence of the Falkland Island fox, or Warrah, on the islands, as well as a
scattering of undated artifacts including arrowheads and the remains of a canoe. It is thought this canid was brought to
the island by humans, although it may have reached the islands by itself via a land bridge during the last ice age. The first
European explorer widely credited with sighting the islands is Sebald de Weert, a Dutch sailor, in 1600. Although
several English and Spanish historians maintain their own explorers discovered the islands earlier, some older maps,
particularly Dutch ones, used the name 'Sebald Islands', after de Weert. However, the islands appear on numerous
Spanish and other maps beginning in the 1520s. In January 1690, English sailor John Strong, captain
of the Welfare, was heading for Puerto Deseado (in Argentina), but driven off course by contrary winds, he reached
the Sebald Islands instead and landed at Bold Cove. He sailed between the two principal islands and called the
passage "Falkland Channel" (now Falkland Sound), after Anthony Cary, 5th Viscount Falkland (1659-1694), who as
Commissioner of the Admiralty had financed the expedition and who later became First Lord of the Admiralty. From
this body of water the island group later took its collective English name. The first settlement on the Falkland Islands,
called Port Saint Louis, was founded by the French navigator and military commander Louis Antoine de Bougainville in
1764 on Berkeley Sound, in present-day Port Louis, East Falkland. Unaware of the French presence, in January 1765,
English captain John Byron explored and claimed Saunders Island, at the western end of the group, where he named
the harbour of Port Egmont, and sailed near other islands, which he also claimed for King George III of Great Britain.
A British settlement was built at Port Egmont in 1766. Also in 1766, Spain acquired the French colony, and after
assuming effective control in 1767, placed the islands under a governor subordinate to Buenos Aires. Spain attacked
Port Egmont, ending the British presence there in 1770, but Britain returned in 1771 and remained until 1774. Upon
her withdrawal in 1774 Britain left behind a plaque asserting her claims, and in 1790, Britain officially ceded control of
the islands to Spain, and renounced any and all colonial ambitions in South America, and its adjacent islands, as part of
the Nootka Convention. In addition, the Nootka Convention provided for equal British, Spanish, and US rights to fish
the surrounding waters of, as well as land on and erect temporary buildings to aid in such fishing operations, in any
territory south of parts already occupied by Spain - the Falkland Islands being one of them since 1770 . From then
on Spain ruled the islands unchallenged under the name "Islas Malvinas", maintaining a settlement ruled from Buenos
Aires under the control of the Vice-royalty of the Rio de la Plata until 1811. On leaving in 1811, Spain, too, left behind
a plaque asserting her claims. The Royal Navy built a base at Stanley, and the islands became a strategic point for
navigation around Cape Horn. The World War I naval battle, the Battle of Falkland Islands took place in December
1914, with a British victory over the Germans. During World War II, Stanley served as a Royal Navy station and
serviced ships which took part in the Battle of the River Plate. Sovereignty over the islands became an issue again in the
latter half of the 20th century. Argentina, which had never renounced its claim to the islands, saw the creation of the
United Nations as an opportunity to present its case before the rest of the world. In 1945, upon signing the UN
Charter, Argentina stated that it reserved its right to sovereignty of the islands, as well as its right to recover them. The
United Kingdom responded in turn by stating that, as an essential precondition for the fulfilment of UN Resolution
1514, regarding the de-colonization of all territories still under foreign occupation, the Falklanders first had to vote for
the British withdrawal at a referendum to be held on the Issue. Talks between British and Argentine foreign missions
took place in the 1960s, but failed to come to any meaningful conclusion. A major sticking point in all the negotiations
was the 2,000 inhabitants of mainly British descent who preferred that the islands remained British Territory. On April
2, 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands and other British territories in the South Atlantic (South Georgia and
the South Sandwich Islands), encouraged in part by the United Kingdom's reduction in military capacity in the South
Atlantic and as a diversion from poor economic performance at home. The invasion was condemned by the United
Nations Security Council, although world reaction ranged from support in the Latin American countries (with the
exception of Chile), to opposition in Europe, the Commonwealth, and eventually the United States. The British sent a
large expeditionary force to retake the islands leading to the Falklands War. After a short but fierce naval and air war,
the British landed at San Carlos Water on May 21 and a land war followed until the Argentinean forces surrendered on
June 14. Following the war, the British increased their military presence on the islands, constructing RAF Mount
Pleasant and increasing the military garrison. Falkland Islanders were also granted full British citizenship. Although the
UK and Argentina since resumed diplomatic relations in 1989, no further negotiations on sovereignty have taken place.
Sources: Wikipedia History of the Falkland Islands
The islands, an archipelago in the southern Atlantic Ocean, is an internally self-governing overseas territory of the
United Kingdom. Executive power is exercised by the government, whereas legislative power is vested in both the
government and the Legislative Council. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.A new
constitution came into force on 1 January 2009.
Within the executive branch of the Falkland Islands, the chief of state has been Elizabeth II since February 6, 1952.
Since May 1999 the viceroy of the British Crown has been Governor Donald Lamont and the head of government has
been Chief Executive Michael Blanch. Lamont was succeeded by Howard Pearce on 3 December 2002. He was
succeeded in September 2006 by Alan Huckle, then governor of Anguilla.
There are no elections for the executive branch in the Falkland Islands. The monarch is hereditary, and the Governor is
appointed by the monarch. For other elections, suffrage is universal, with the minimum voting age at 18.The Falkland
Islands elects a legislature on territorial level. The Legislative Assembly has 10 members, 8 of which are elected every 4
years and 2 members ex officio. As of the last elections, As of the last elections, 5 November 2009, only non-partisans
have been elected; there are no active political parties in the Falkland Islands. The next elections will be held in
Source: Wikipedia: Politics of the Falkland Islands
The economy was formerly based on agriculture, mainly sheep farming but fishing and tourism currently comprise the
bulk of economic activity. In 1987, the government began selling fishing licenses to foreign trawlers operating within the
Falkland Islands' exclusive fishing zone. These license fees net more than $40 million per year, which help support the
island''s health, education, and welfare system. The waters around the Falkland Islands are known for their squid,
which account for around 75% of the annual 200,000 ton fish catch. Dairy farming supports domestic consumption;
crops furnish winter fodder. Foreign exchange earnings come from shipments of high-grade wool to the UK and from
the sale of postage stamps and coins. In 2001, the government purchased 100 reindeer with the intent to increase the
number to 10,000 over the following 20 years so that Falkland could export venison to Scandinavia and Chile.
Tourism, especially eco-tourism, is increasing rapidly, with about 69,000 visitors in 2009. The British military presence
also provides a sizeable economic boost. The islands are now self-financing except for defense. In 1993 the British
Geological Survey announced a 200-mile oil exploration zone around the islands, and early seismic surveys suggest
substantial reserves capable of producing 500,000 barrels per day. Political tensions between the UK and Argentina
remain high following the start of oil drilling activities in the waters. In September 2011, a British exploration firm
announced that it plans to commence oil production in 2016.
Source: CIA World Factbook (select Falkland Islands)
Argentina, which claims the islands in its constitution and briefly occupied them by force in 1982, agreed in 1995 to no
longer seek settlement by force; UK continues to reject Argentine requests for sovereignty talks
|HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
|Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Referendum
Office of the Spokesperson
June 13, 2012
Question: Will the United States respect the referendum results?
Answer: We will not speculate on a referendum that has not taken place. Our position remains one of neutrality. The United States
recognizes de facto U.K. administration of the islands, but takes no position regarding the sovereignty claims of either party
The U.S. Government supports U.K. and Argentine cooperation on practical matters and urges a peaceful resolution to the overall
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14 June 2012
Special Committee on Decolonization
4th Meeting (PM)
Special Committee on Decolonization Considers ‘Question of the Falkland Islands
(Malvinas)’, Hears from Petitioners, Island Assemblymen, Argentina’s President
Following statements by petitioners and an impassioned plea by the President of Argentina to leave behind an “outdated story” of
prejudice and cliché, the Special Committee on Decolonization today reiterated that ending the “special and particular” colonial
situation relating to the Falkland Islands (Malvinas)* required a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the sovereignty dispute between
Argentina and the United Kingdom.
By a consensus resolution, introduced by Fernando Schmidt, Vice Foreign Minister of Chile, the Special Committee regretted that,
despite widespread international support for negotiation between the two Governments, implementation of General Assembly
resolutions on the question had not yet started. The Governments were requested to consolidate the current process of dialogue and
cooperation through resumed negotiations to find a peaceful solution to the dispute relating to the question of the Falkland Islands
(Malvinas), in line with resolutions 2065 (XX) and 3160 (XXVIII), among others.
Those negotiations dated back to 1974, said Christina Fernández de Kirchner, President of Argentina, in a sweeping address to the
Special Committee 30 years to the day after the end of a conflict with the United Kingdom over the South Atlantic Islands. At that
time, a confidential proposal had been presented by the United Kingdom to President Juan Perón, outlining the terms of a
“condominium” approach to the question of the Territory, by which the British and Argentine flags would fly side by side, English and
Spanish would be the official languages and all “native-born islanders” would possess dual nationality.
A counter-proposal had been put forward, she said, which aimed to graduate the Islands into the economic, political and social life of
the Argentine Republic. The two sides had come to the negotiation table in 1974, but the efforts stalled upon the death of President
Perón. “We want to renew those negotiations,” she asserted. As in 1974, Argentina was open to negotiations and she urged the
United Kingdom to acknowledge that there was a legitimate issue of sovereignty to discuss. The question was larger than a bilateral
case; it was a challenge to multilateral bodies to determine whether the world could overcome prejudice and embrace a new world
order. “We’re just asking to talk,” she said.
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The Future Of The Falkland Islands And Its People
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.
Yet even the Falklands self-determination has been achieved not without the determined bold effort of the Falklanders themselves, a
turning point probably being their successful rejection and blocking of the attempted «lease back solution» back in the Nineteen-
It must be pointed out that the Falklands self-determination is an internal affair between the Falklands people on the one hand,
represented by their elected government exercising sovereignty on the Islands themselves, and the British Government on the other
hand exercising Falklands sovereignty internationally. Neither Argentina nor the UN could be parties to this bilateral business.
Any recognition of the Falklands self-determination by third parties like the UN is desirable but not crucial at all. While such
recognition will come inevitably in the context of more global political developments expanding the practice of self-determination
worldwide, it is nevertheless worth keeping the pressure on the UN Decolonization Committee for recognition and abandonment of its
The UN involvement is useful in countries like Western Sahara or Timor, where there could hardly have been any self-determination
without it. However, all the other «non self-governing territories» presently monitored by the UN Decolonization Committee are
exercising their right of self-determination regardless of any UN sponsorship. A comparison between the Freedom House annual
ratings of the «decolonized» (the present 16 territories subject to UN «decolonization») and their «decolonizers» (the 24 members of
the Decolonization Committee) would suggest that the former are three times more democratic than the latter. And surely, as much
better off, too.
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Summit of the Americas fails to address human rights
Fifth Summit of the Americas
20 April 2009
The fifth Summit of the Americas has failed to recognize that human rights must be placed at the centre of efforts to confront the
many fundamental challenges facing the region.
Governments from every country in the Americas, except for Cuba, took part in the four-yearly meeting held in Port of Spain,
Trinidad and Tobago, between 17 and 19 April.
The 34 heads of state and government discussed the Summit's three principal themes: human prosperity, energy security and
The Declaration of Commitment of Port of Spain was adopted by consensus at the close of the Summit on 19 April. Based on the
three themes, the Declaration fails to lay out a clear human rights framework for progress in these areas.
A number of governments, including Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Honduras, indicated that they were not prepared to formally
sign the Declaration. Leaders agreed to instead adopt it by consensus and have Trinidadian Prime Minister Manning sign on behalf of
The governments that had registered objections did not feel that the Declaration deals adequately with the current global economic
crisis. They also wanted to see strong references to the issue of Cuba's reintegration into Organization of American States (OAS) and
the lifting of the US embargo against Cuba.
Amnesty International delegates at the Summit urged the governments of the region to make a firm commitment to ensuring that all
measures taken in response to the current global economic crisis fully conform to their human rights obligations. But the recognition
in the Declaration of the responsibility governments have to address the crisis does not acknowledge human rights at all.
"At a time of global economic turmoil and with a new spirit of compromise in the air between the government of US President
Barrack Obama and other governments in the Americas this Summit offered an unparalleled opportunity to lay out a strong human
rights vision for the Americas," said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, who was part of the Amnesty
International delegation at the Summit. "Instead, human rights have once again been pushed to the back."
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An Explosive Issue: British Government Must Act
The British government must take this new opportunity to end its shameful opposition to a ban on cluster bombs.
by Tom Porteous
February 21, 2007
According to the police report, Kamaleddine Mohammad was gathering wood near the Rashidiyeh Palestinian refugee camp outside
Tyre in Lebanon last month when he stepped on an unexploded submunition from a cluster bomb. Mohammad was yet another
victim of Israel's cluster bombing campaign at the end of last summer's war between Israel and Hizbollah. He is one of the tens of
thousands of civilians killed or injured by cluster munitions in war zones throughout the world in recent decades.
This week, Norway is leading an effort to initiate negotiations that would, if successful, lead to an international ban on most, if not
all, cluster munitions, thus preventing thousands of further civilian deaths and injuries. The initiative deserves the support of all states
that profess to care about the rules of war and the protection of civilians caught up in armed conflict.
Cluster munitions, dropped from aircraft or shot out of artillery and ground rocket systems, explode in mid air and scatter hundreds
of submunitions over an area as big as, or even bigger than, a football pitch. When used in populated areas, they are almost certain to
cause large numbers of civilian casualties. Furthermore, because many of these submunitions fail to explode on impact but remain
volatile, the target area effectively becomes a minefield. Long after hostilities have ended these weapons continue to reap a bitter
harvest in civilian deaths and injuries. Children are particularly vulnerable.
In southern Lebanon, which, in the last days of last summer's war, the Israel Defence Forces blanketed with millions of
submunitions, 186 people have been injured and 30 killed by unexploded cluster submunitions since the end of the fighting.
The British government is a major producer, user, exporter and stockpiler of cluster munitions. Britain used them in Iraq in 2003,
Kosovo in 1999, Iraq and Kuwait in 1991, and the Falkland Islands in 1982. It has sold them to armed forces around the world. And
it has been opposing efforts to prohibit the use of inaccurate and unreliable cluster munitions through international negotiations such
as those which led to the landmark Mine Ban Treaty of 1997.
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The Falkland Islands Government announces its intention to hold a referendum on political status.
June 12th, 2012
STATEMENT FROM THE FALKLAND ISLANDS GOVERNMENT
The Falkland Islands Government today announced its intention to hold a referendum on the political status of the Falklands.
Chairman of the Legislative Assembly, Gavin Short, said:
“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.”
“We have thought carefully about how to convey a strong message to the outside world that expresses the views of the Falklands
people in a clear, democratic and incontestable way. So we have decided, with the full support of the British Government, to hold a
referendum on the Falkland Islands to eliminate any possible doubt about our wishes. This referendum will be organised by the
Falkland Islands Government and will take place in the first half of 2013. We will invite independent, international observers to
observe the process and verify its outcome. Exact timings, the specific wording of the question, and other details will be announced
in the coming weeks.”
“We are holding this referendum not because we have any doubts about who we are and what future we want, but to show the
world just how very certain we are about that.”
On behalf of the Legislative Assembly
Members of the Legislative Assembly, Falkland Islands Government
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Ministers welcome Falkland Islands Government referendum announcement
12 June 2012
Foreign Secretary William Hague and Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne today welcomed the announcement by the Falklands
Islands government of a referendum on the islands' political future.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said:
“The British Government has been consistent in its view that the future of the Falklands can only be determined by the people who
live there. So the Prime Minister and I support this initiative to demonstrate – without doubt – the definitive view of the Falkland
Islands people. In a region that rightly prizes democracy and human rights, it is entirely appropriate that the Islanders can express
this fundamental right. The principle of self-determination is a key part of the United Nations charter. The voice of the Falkland
Islands people should be heard. I hope very much that Argentina, and indeed the whole of the international community, joins the
UK in listening carefully to what they have to say.”
Speaking, today, from Stanley, Falklands Islands, Jeremy Browne said:
"It is a privilege and a pleasure to be here with the Falkland Islands people, as they commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of their
liberation. The sacrifices made by the British armed forces in the 1982 conflict were significant. We will never forget them. But
the British Government believed then, as we do today, that the protection of the Falkland Islanders’ political liberty – of their right
to determine their own future – is a principle worth defending.
"Only the Falkland Islands people can determine how they wish to be governed. So I very much support this initiative by the
Falkland Islands Government. Indeed, I believe this referendum is a truly significant moment. It will give the Falkland Islands
people the opportunity to send a clear message – not just to Argentina, but to the whole of the international community – that the
Islanders, and they alone, are masters of their fate.
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FALKLAND ISLANDS ASSOCIATION
REVIEW OF 2011
10th December 2011.
THE FALKLANDS AND ARGENTINA
There is no sign of any falling off in British support for the Islands. In June we were encouraged by a very robust expression of
support from the Prime Minister in answer to a parliamentary question from Andrew Rosindell MP:
As long as the Falkland Islands want to be a sovereign British territory, they should remain sovereign British territory. Full stop, end
This comes in spite of tension in Argentine/Falklands relations. The government of President Cristina Fernández Kirchner has talked
up pressure against the Islands.
The Argentines also leant on their neighbours to obstruct British shipping links, including the Royal Navy, between the Islands and
Brazil and Uruguay. They have interrupted the regular freight route between Punta Arenas, Stanley and Montevideo and threatened
fishing vessels holding Falklands licenses.
These Argentine measures have made life on the Islands more difficult – the price of vegetables and other perishables has increased
and a general impression of uncertainty is reflected in the media. I don’t want to down play these worries – clearly on the Islands
they are very significant and inconvenient.
But these pressures are basically expressions of frustration, because Argentina has been unable to interrupt the prospection for oil in
Falklands waters which is now beginning to show positive results. One company, Rockhopper Exploration, believes
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Governor since 16 october 2010
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly
since 01 February 2009
Click on map for larger view
Click on flag for Country Report