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Country Watch

tor during the Restoration, took significant steps to secure its borders from smuggling, which was the central trade to Gibraltar economy. Tensions began to worsen between Gibraltarians and the Spaniards with “Queen Elizabeth II’s visit in 1954 to Gibraltar.” Shortly thereafter, World War II esca- lated tensions between Gibraltarians and Span- iards. According to Adolf Hitler, “actual Spanish participation in the war was necessary and he re- jected the notion of an attack on Gibraltar without Spanish entry into the war” on the Axis powers’ side.

Francisco Franco y Bahamonde (1892-1975) brought Spain’s continuing claim of sovereignty over Gibraltar and requested that Gibraltar was decolonized to the United Nations in the 1960s. Local opposition to the transfer to Spain was man- ifest in a 1967 referendum, which was incorporat- ed into the 1969 Constitution of Gibraltar. Under Franco, Spain retaliated by closing “the border with Gibraltar from 1969 to 1985.” This resulted in the “Spanish-UK Lisbon Agreement (1980) and the Joint Brussels Communiqué (1984), but there were no talks on Spain’s claim to sovereignty.”

From 1991 to 1997, Spanish fishermen entered Gibraltarian waters, respecting Gibraltar’s laws and the authority of its law enforcement agen- cies; however, after 1997, Spanish fishermen re- fused to recognize the validity of Gibraltar’s laws and the authority of its police, claiming that it was Spanish waters.

Then, in 2002, Britain and Spain reached a broad agreement on the shared sovereignty of Gibral- tar; however, the agreement was met with local hostility expressed in the form of local rallies and demonstrations. The result was the November 7, 2002 sovereignty referendum of Gibraltar against shared sovereignty.”

International Implications in the Modern Era

Spain contests British sovereignty over Gibraltar and concludes that, as a colony, Gibraltar has no right to territorial waters. Spain’s approach is un-

The Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), and various Af- rican political leaders have already endorsed

ILSA Quarterly » volume 22 » issue 1 » October 2013

der “the UN Principal of territorial integrity of the state saying that Gibraltarians can’t have national determination since they are not a nation and the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713 gives Spain the right of first refusal should Britain cede its claim to Gi- braltar.”

Britain asserts that its continued “de facto pres- ence in Gibraltar gives it a right to territorial wa- ters in the Bay and Straight area around Gibraltar, which is supported by both international custom- ary law and conventional law.”

Gibraltar retorts that, under “UN General As- sembly Resolution 1541, the ‘self-determination’ principal relates to the democratically expressed wish of the people of Gibraltar to remain under British rule and retain their links with the UK.”

In September 2013, due to the developments in the disputed waters, Spain has increased border security. The European Commission officials have recently begun inspecting border controls near Gibraltar because of reports of excessive delays caused by Spanish officials.

* Submitted by Tia Haywood

Western Leaders Question Recent Elections in Zimbabwe

This August marked the start of yet another five- year term for 89 year-old Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. The July elections resulted in a 61 percent victory for Mugabe and the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), overcoming his much younger opponent Morgan Tsvangirai who won 34 percent of the vote. When compared to the 2008 election – which resulted in the death of over 200 Zimbabweans and the injury of thousands more – this election seems to have been a great success.


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