Falkland Islands ban: Waving an Argentine flag now ruled ‘unacceptable behaviour’
Members of the Executive Council of the islands have deemed waving the 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. Legislative councillors on the 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.
But if they refuse and fail to comply with the established law and order of the Falklands then police intervention will be sought and the accused will declared a prohibited person and no longer able to enter the islands because of their unacceptable behaviour.
Spokesman Mark Pollard said of the new guidance: “The framework provides an appropriate threshold for when a person might be considered to be automatically refused in the future, it also looks at the requirements to notify an individual of their prohibited status and how an application for revocation would be dealt with.”
Other unacceptable behaviours leading to a life ban are: appealing to written, oral or other methods to express opinions that trigger, justify or glorify violence, cause harassment, alarm and stress that impacts on public order, or encourage hatred that can lead to unrest and/or violence in the community.
Islanders have always been uneasy 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.
Argentine ex-servicemen's groups said the ban was unacceptable and a gesture against freedom of expression.
War veterans often to travel to the Falkland Island and display flags with bearing slogans.
In March 2019, former soccer player Luis Alberto Escobedo was arrested for displaying the Argentine flag, singing the National Anthem and shouting "long live Argentina".
The other acts prohibited by the regulatory framework are those that habitually deal with security issues: terrorist crimes; common crimes in which the person is also considered very dangerous; international crimes, including war crimes and torture; corruption, such as tax evasion, money laundering, bribery or fraud.
Extremism is also a reason for exclusion, unless it is clear that they have publicly retracted their views, in addition to the "unacceptable behaviour" breaches.
Tensions between Argentina and the UK have recently resurfaced over the Falkland Islands after Buenos Aires once again raised the issue with the United Nations.
President Alberto Fernández claimed the "legitimate and imprescriptible sovereignty rights of Argentina over the Malvinas, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime spaces" in a pre-recorded speech submitted to last month's General Assembly.
The Argentine president had told delegates: "I want to reaffirm the legitimate and imprescriptible sovereign rights of the Argentine Republic over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, and the surrounding maritime spaces, which are an integral part of the national territory of Argentina and which have been illegally occupied by the United Kingdom for more than 187 years.
"This year it will be the 55th anniversary of resolution 2065, the first one adopted by this organisation on this issue, which asked Argentina and the United Kingdom to hold negotiations that would allow reaching a peaceful and definitive solution to this sovereignty dispute.
"That order has remained in force and has been renewed many times."
Mr Fernandez also referred to a resolution passed unanimously by the UN's special decolonisation committee, known as C24, on August 5, calling for both sides to engage in a fresh round of negotiations over the future of the islands.
He said: "The United Kingdom persists in its attitude of ignoring the call to resume negotiations regarding the territorial dispute and has aggravated the controversy over calls for the illegal and unilateral exploitation of renewable and non-renewable natural resources in the area, which is contrary to resolution 31/49 of this assembly.
"The UK also insists on the excessive and unjustified military presence on the islands that does nothing more than bringing tension to a region characterised by being a zone of peace and international cooperation."
Argentina has made frequent attempts to use the UN as a way of strengthening its claim over the Falklands in the years since the 1982 conflict which claimed the lives 255 British military personnel, 649 members of the Argentine armed forces and three islanders.
(Additional reporting by Maria Ortega)