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“General Debate on Decolonization”

Sixty Sixth Session of the General Assembly, Fourth Committee: “General Debate on Decolonization” by the Charge d’Affaires a.i. of the Mission of the Argentine Republic to the United Nations, Minister Diego Limeres

Madam Chair,

Allow me first to congratulate you on your election as Chairman of this Fourth Committee and extend our congratulations to the members of the Bureau. While wishing you all the best of success, I commit the full support of my delegation. I wish also to express our recognition to Ambassador Chitsaka Chipaziwa, Permanent Representative of Zimbabwe, for the way he conducted the work of this Committee during the 65th session.

This year gathers us once again before an anniversary that must not go unnoticed in our struggle against colonialism. In November 2011 we will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Special Committee on Decolonization by resolution 1654 (XVI) of 27 November 1961. This anniversary constitutes a proper occasion to stress that their tenets are fully in force as, when establishing that body, the Assembly stated that it was convinced that further delay in the application of the Declaration is a continuing source of international conflict and disharmony, seriously impedes international cooperation, and is creating an increasingly dangerous situation in many parts of the world which may threaten international peace and security”.

Furthermore this next anniversary occurs in a very special context also characterized by other recent significant commemorations, all of which remind us that the decolonization mandate is fully in force: the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration contained in resolution 1514 (XV) and the beginning of the Third International Decade for the eradication of colonialism, an anniversary which will certainly encourage us to redouble our efforts in promoting decolonization in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions and decisions.

Madam Chair,

We must also avail ourselves of the challenge also in force to accomplish the decolonization mandate considering this challenge as an opportunity to remind ourselves that, for the United Nations, the further continuation of colonial cases in all their forms and manifestations is a crime which constitutes a violation of the Charter of the United Nations, the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and the principles of international law, as established in General Assembly resolution 2621 (XXV), adopted on the tenth anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1514.

Regarding the centrality and significance of the Special Committee, Argentina fully agrees with the Secretary General’s words when he opened this year’s session in February 2011, when he recalled the beginning of the Third International Decade for the eradication of colonialism and stressed the “key” role of the Special Committee as the General Assembly subsidiary body “exclusively devoted to advancing the United Nations decolonization agenda”.
Madam Chair,

The Argentine Republic once again reiterates its full support for and commitment to the decolonization process carried out by the United Nations through its relevant bodies, pursuant to the provisions and objectives of the Charter of the Untied Nations and the principles established by General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV).

It is always worth mentioning that resolution 1514 (XV) proclaimed the necessity of bringing to a speedy and unconditional end colonialismo in all its forms and manifestations, making it clear that there exist “more than one form of colonialism” and establishing two principles to address the several cases: self determination and territorial integrity.

Argentina has always been and continues to be a staunch defender of the right of peoples to self-determination in all forums and cases in which that right is applicable. No people can be subjected to alien subjugation, domination exploitation and foreign occupation in the 21st century, which is a denial of the fundamental human rights, is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and is an impediment to the promotion of world peace and cooperation.

Madam Chair,

It is in defence of the principle of self-determination that we cannot admit that this principle be distorted to such an extent as to force an argument in favour of the continued existence of an anachronistic colonial sovereignty dispute which mutilates the territorial integrity of Argentina since 1833.

The sovereignty dispute existing with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland over the Malvinas, South Georgias and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas unlawfully occupied by that colonial power is indeed of the utmost relevance for the Argentine Republic. This dispute has been recognized in successive resolutions of the General Assembly and the Special Committee on Decolonization as a “special and particular” colonial situation which must be solved through negotiations between the two parties, taking into account the interests of the population of the islands.

This is so because there is not a population subjected or subjugated to a colonial power in the South Atlantic Islands usurped to Argentina but British subjects whose condition has not changed over the years in which they have resided there. In fact there is a colonial situation but not a colonized “people”. Therefore, when the United Kingdom claims the right of self-determination for this British transplanted population it is only claiming self-determination for itself.


Madam Chair,

At the same time, the United Kingdom illegally carries out unilateral activities of exploration and exploitation of renewable and non-renewable natural resources in the disputed archipelagos and waters, which are contrary to the mandate of the United Nations as set out in General Assembly resolution 31/49 calling upon both parties to refrain from taking decisions that would imply introducing unilateral modifications in the situation while the islands are going through the settlement process.

The United Kingdom also conducts military exercises, including the firing of missiles from the territory of the Malvinas Islands, which not only violate the resolution referred to above but are also contrary to full implementation of the maritime safety standards of the International Maritime Organization and run counter to the policy of consistently seeking a peaceful settlement of the dispute.

As all these acts violate international law and the mandate of the international community, not only Argentina is confronted with these British activities but also to the rest of the countries of the region. The conflict has thus reached regional dimensions. This does not affect our region only, insofar as other regions have echoed the need to resume negotiations and put and end to this predation of natural resources, as shown in the pronouncements of regional and bi-regional organizations such as the Rio Group, MERCOSUR, UNASUR, the Ibero-American Summits, the South American countries and African countries, the South American and Arab countries and, more recently, the Group of 77 and China.

Madam Chair,

The Argentine Government has expressed at every available opportunity its permanent willingness to negotiate in order to comply with the obligation equally pending on both parties to resume the negotiations on sovereignty. The United Kingdom must comply with that obligation imposed on as a member of this Organization in order to reach a solution to the dispute.

As the President of the Argentine Republic stated during the general debate of the 66th General Assembly, once again we come to these United Nations to claim for an also vital cause, not only for the Argentine people: the Question of the Malvinas Islands is also a “test of fire” for this body.

Crimes of colonialism still persist after fifty years since the establishment of the Special Committee on Decolonization. It is our duty to put an end to these crimes. The international community and the Secretary General can count on Argentina’s best willingness and efforts to contribute to their eradication for good.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman

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