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Peter Caruana Appeals To UN Over Sovereignty Dispute

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

07 October 2002


Speaking to the 4th Committee of the United Nations last week, Gibraltarian Chief Minister, Peter Caruana urged the international dispute resolution body to intervene in the ongoing sovereignty dispute between the United Kingdom and Spain over the Rock, arguing that the current state of affairs runs contrary to the 'spirit of the Charter of the United Nations'.

'Gibraltar is listed by the UN as a Non-Self Government Territory subject to Decolonisation under the Decolonisation Declaration. The United Kingdom is our Administrating Power. Spain is our neighbour and the claimant of the sovereignty of Gibraltar. In fact Gibraltar is the homeland of the Gibraltarians and therefore neither the UK’s to give nor Spain’s to have,' Mr Caruana noted.

Citing the fact that the UN has consistently urged the UK and Spain to reach an agreement 'in the light of relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and in the spirit of the Charter of the United Nations', he asked:

'The question that the people of Gibraltar pose is this. Is the General Assembly thereby saying that the wishes of the people of Gibraltar do not matter and should be disregarded, that we do not enjoy the right to self determination and that the UK and Spain should therefore resolve their alleged differences over Gibraltar bilaterally over the heads of the people of Gibraltar?'

'Is that the “relevant resolutions” and the “spirit of the Charter” to which the Consensus Resolution refers? Or, alternatively, is the reference to the spirit of the Charter intended by the Committee precisely as a reference to the wishes of the people?'

Taking issue with Spain's use of the principle of territorial integrity to justify its long-standing claim to ownership of Gibraltar, and its parallel claim that a clause in the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713 prevents Gibraltar’s decolonisation, other than by the integration of Gibraltar into Spain, Mr Caruana then went on to urge the United Nations to to refer the Gibraltar case to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion; to amend the consensus resolution to give the people of Gibraltar an equal and separate voice in dialogue; and to refer in the Resolution to the primacy of the wishes of the people of Gibraltar, and the principle of self determination.

'There is no realistic, alternative way forward,' he concluded.


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