Falkland Islanders make a stand against Argentina at UN

A group of Falkland Islanders outside the United Nations building in New York.
A group of Falkland Islanders outside the United Nations building in New York. Photo: ITV News

Thirty years to the day after the Falklands war ended, islanders gathered outside the United Nations building in New York to protest against a speech by Argentina's president Cristina Kirchner, made during a meeting of delegates to discuss the future sovereignty of the Falklands .

President Christina Kirchner called for the Falklands to be returned to Argentina.

She is ramping up the rhetoric over her country's claim to the islands.

Islander Mike Summer said the committee should put the wishes of the people who live there before the interests of anyone else:

Their responsibility is not to the United Kingdom or to Argentina. It is to the people of the self-governing British territory.

– Islander Mike Summer

Roger Edwards, an elected member of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly said at the meeting that Argentina has "persisted in its attempts to deny the people of the Falkland Islands their democratic rights".

President Cristina Kircher is leading a delegation of more than 90 diplomats and officials to address the annual meeting of the UN decolonisation committee on the Falklands and 15 other territories. She is the first head of state to address what is a relatively low-level UN Committee.

She argued that the islands, known as the Malvinas in Argentina, are still important to the people of Argentina, and that the UK should sit down to proper negotiations on their future.

The meeting has already seen the UN Secretary-General and President Kircher discuss the issue of the Falkland Islands.

The Secretary-General acknowledged the strong regional support for this issue and reiterated that his offices are still keen to work to resolve this dispute, but the parties must be willing to engage.

Earlier in the day Islanders, veterans and members of the armed forces marked the 30th anniversary of the liberation of the Falkand Islands at a service of thanksgiving held at Stanley's Christ Church Cathedral.

Around 400 islanders braved the stormy conditions to pay tribute to their dead.

The war ended on June 14 1982 after Argentinian commander General Mario Menendez surrendered at Stanley.

Two hundred and twenty-five British serviceman, three Falkland Islanders and 655 Argentinian soldiers lost their lives in the conflict.

The service was attended by Foreign Officer minister Jeremy Brown.

He has pledged to continue to defend the Falkland Islands from Argentina on the 30th anniversary of the South Atlantic territory's liberation.

The Falkland Islands is still a live issue and not just an historical one. We want to make sure that the Argentineans and people right around the world understand that the self determination of the people on the island is sacrosanct.

They are front and centre stage and we will do what's necessary so they can retain their freedom.

– Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne