UN commission: Falkland Islands in Argentine waters

The UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) ruled on March 28 that Argentina's maritime territory includes the area surrounding the Falkland Islands. Argentina had previously submitted to the commission a report fixing the territory at 350 [nautical] miles from its coast instead of 200. The commission made clear that it was not in a position to consider and qualify parts of the submission that are subject to dispute. The commission's findings expand the maritime territory of Argentina by 35%. Susana Malcorra, Argentina's foreign minister, maintained that the findings reaffirm the country's sovereignty rights over the resources of its continental shelf. The findings have been dismissed by the UK as recommendations that are not legally binding.

The Falkland Islands, or Las Islas Malvinas, have been in dispute between Argentina and the UK since the 1800s. The UN ordered the two nations to reach an agreement over the territory in 1965, but after years of talks the nations fought a war over the territory in 1982. In November 2008 the governments of the UK and the Falkland Islands announced that they agreed on a new constitution for the disputed islands. Argentina's armed forces released documents in September revealing that Argentinian soldiers were tortured and abused by their superiors during the Falklands War. In April Argentina's Minister for Issues Relating to the Falkland Islands announced that the country was bringing legal proceedings against oil and gas companies from the US and UK that are drilling off the islands.

From Jurist, March 29. Used with permission.

Note: The CLCS decision included the caveat that there is an unresolved diplomatic dispute between Argentina and Britain over the islands. Shares in Rockhopper Exploration PLC, an oil company with interests in the Falklands, slumped after the CLCS decision. In 2013, 99% of Falkland islanders voted to remain as a British overseas territory. Argentina continues to maintain a Malvinas Islands Secretariat, recently merged into the Malvinas and South Atlantic Islands Under Secretariat. (ANI, AP, AP, BBC News, March 29; MercoPress, March 25)