Falkland Islands ban: New rule to halt waving an Argentine flag ‘understood and accepted’

Falkland Islands ban: New rule to halt waving an Argentine flag ‘understood and accepted’

CHIEFS at an Argentine group which represents Falklands War veterans have called on them to respect the Falkland Islands

It comes as members of the Falkland Islands Executive Council deemed waving the Argentina flag or national symbol as "unacceptable behaviour" after tightening up existing laws. Those in breach of the new rules will be declared a "prohibited person" and will not be allowed to return to the British Overseas Territory.

Maria Fernanda Araujo, President of the Malvinas Families Commission urged veterans visiting the islands - which occurs often - to be respectful of the Falkland islanders.

In a rare statement, she said: “If we want to be respected when we travel to the Islands, particularly the families of the fallen with their remains at the Argentine cemetery in Darwin, we must respect the locals, the Islanders.

“It is well known that displaying an Argentine flag or flying it in any part of the Islands, or even exhibiting signals, symbols identified with Argentina are taken by the local community as something aggressive.”

Ms Araujo stressed the Falkland Island's new rules have been “accepted” by veterans and their families.

She added: “Displaying an Argentine flag above waist height or flying any symbol which can be interpreted as a political gesture, exceeding the humanitarian spirit, we have been asked to avoid it, even inside the premises of the cemetery.

“And we have understood it and accepted it.”

The Islands Executive Council approved a new framework which covers who can be considered a "prohibited person" in a bid to clarify previous rules they feared left the decision too open to personal interpretation.

Falkland Islanders have historically not been comfortable with displays of Argentine symbolism and when the Argentine war cemetery in Darwin was renovated in 2004 flags or references to Argentina were removed from the cenotaph and fallen soldiers' tombs.

Ms Araujo concluded her statement by appealing to veterans to behave because any future actions could harm chances for families to visit the cemetery and loved ones.

She added: ”I would like that each Malvinas veteran, or anyone who travels to the Islands, to think before and ask himself a very simple question, what would a soldier who did the ultimate sacrifice out of love for the Fatherland want? Most surely he would say make everything possible so that his family can continue to visit him. It's his tomb, it's his Cross.”

The 1982 war killed about 650 Argentines and 255 Britons and ended when Argentina surrendered.

Argentina has claimed the Falkland Islands since 1833, saying it inherited them from the Spanish on independence and that Britain expelled an Argentine population.

Most Argentines think the islands rightfully belong to the South American country.

Falkland Islanders, however, enjoy an economic boom thanks partly to the sale of oil and natural gas exploration licenses after voting to remain linked with the UK in 2013.

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