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Falkland Islands (British Overseas Territory)

Flag of Falkland Islands

Last reviewed: 07 March 2012

Country information

POLITICS


CONSTITUTIONAL STATUS

The Falkland Islands are a United Kingdom Overseas Territory by choice. Supreme authority is vested in HM The Queen and exercised by a Governor on her behalf, with the advice and assistance of the Executive Council and Legislative Assembly, and in accordance with the Falkland Islands Constitution.

The present Constitution dates from January 2009. The Constitution includes the Islanders' right of self-determination.

The Governor presides over an Executive Council composed of five members: three elected and two ex-officio (the Chief Executive and the Financial Secretary). In addition, the Attorney General and the Commander of the British Forces in the Falkland Islands attend by invitation. The Legislative Assembly has eight members elected by universal adult suffrage as well as the two ex-officio members of the Executive Council. It is chaired by a Speaker.

As is usual in British Overseas Territories, the elected Members have a substantial measure of responsibility for the conduct of their Territory's affairs. The Governor is obliged to consult the Executive Council in the exercise of his functions (except in specified circumstances, for example on defence and security issues, where he must consult and follow the advice of the Commander of the British Forces in the Islands). Although he has the constitutional power to act against the advice of the Executive Council, he would be required, without delay, to report such a matter to the UK Government with the reasons for his action.

Elections

The most recent elections, to the eight person legislative Council took place on 5 November 2009. The next elections will be held in November 2013. By-elections were held in June and December 2011. The current Members are:

Representing Stanley area:

The Hon. Dick Sawle MLA, The Hon. Jan Cheek MLA, The Hon. Barry Elsby MLA, The Hon. Gavin Short MLA, the Hon. Mike Summers MLA

Representing the Camp (countryside) areas:

The Hon. Roger Edwards MLA, The Hon. Sharon Halford MLA, The Hon. Ian Hansen MLA

HUMAN RIGHTS

In March 2010, as part of an FCO-funded project run by the Commonwealth Foundation on “Building Human Rights Capacity in the Overseas Territories”, a small team of trainers visited the Falklands.  They delivered training to public officials and civil society in the practical application of human rights, for example in policy making and court remedies.  Further training took place during July 2011, focusing on enabling Falkland Islanders to develop their own National Action Plan on Human Rights.

The Falkland Islands Government (FIG) has made significant steps over the last decade in the protection of human rights on the Islands. For example, a new video link for giving evidence in court has been introduced to protect children and other vulnerable witnesses, and employment legislation is under review with the introduction of a national minimum wage scheduled for 2012.  The new Constitution contains an updated fundamental rights chapter which largely mirrors the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights.

More broadly, Overseas Territories legislation should comply with the same international obligations to which Britain is subject. The following major Conventions apply in the Falkland Islands:

  • European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)
  • International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights (ICESCR)
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
  • UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT)
  • UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
  • UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
  • UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

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Contacts

Falkland Islands, Stanley, Government House

Address:

Government House
Stanley, FIQQ 1ZZ

Telephone:

(500) 28200
(500) 27110 Secretariat for Chief Executive

Fax:

(500) 28201

Email: gov.house@horizon.co.fk

Office hours:

GMT (early Sept to Mid April): Mon-Fri: 1100-1500 / 1615-1930

GMT (Mid April to early Sept): Mon-Fri: 1200-1600 / 1715-2030

Local Time: Mon-Fri: 0800-1200 / 1315-1630