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EDITORIAL – March 1st.

EDITORIAL – March 1st.
March 01
09:35 2019

By Mr. Henry Lawrence

The Guatemalan position, that it can use its Congress and Constitutional Assembly to pass resolutions that affect Belize’s borders is based on a misconception.

The man who started all this, President Jorge Ubico, believed that if Guatemala rejected the 1859 Treaty, the agreement which established Belize’s borders, he could also do away with our borders. He was very much mistaken!

President Ubico ruled over Guatemala during the time of World War ll, when the world was convulsed in a terrible conflict against Hitler, the German dictator. There was no United Nations!

There was no Geneva Convention and there was no ICJ to protect smaller nations from bigger, more powerful neighbours.

After the war in 1945 there came into being a new World Order. The United Nations was established in October of that year. The Geneva Convention was signed and came into being that same year. The International Court of Justice, the ICJ, was established as the judicial arm of the United Nations, by order of the United Nations General Assembly, also in 1945.

The Geneva Convention is an international law which protects all the nations of the world and keeps them from fighting over land. But it especially protects smaller nations from being gobbled up by bigger nations. It declares that no country can use its laws to change, or to do away with any border of a neighbouring country.

The ICJ has consistently defended this principle of the inviolability of borders. We have seen it time and time again, in the case of Chad vs Libya; in the case of Costa Rica vs. Nicaragua and in the case of the Cameroons vs. Nigeria.

Even in cases where the larger nation has stationed troops in the disputed territory, and has occupied that territory for years, as was the case with Nigeria and the Cameroons the ICJ directed those occupying powers to withdraw.

The ICJ has come as a blessing for those small nations which are being claimed by bigger, more powerful nations. The ICJ will be a blessing for Belize, if we make up our mind to defend our borders. Belize has nothing to fear but fear itself!

We can move forward, united in purpose, that the ICJ will agree with the United Nations General Assembly that Belize should exercise her independence with all of her territory intact, and that the border treaty with Guatemala is valid in defining Belize’s land space.

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