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Separatism factor: How should the world community react on separatist sentiments?

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The notion of separatism is not new: ethnic minorities have been struggling to gain independence in various regions around the world for ages. As the majority of the modern states is not ethnically homogeneous, many have a potential of an arising struggle of independence of the minorities, especially taking into consideration the rise of nationalism. This issue is indeed of a global scale as the separatist movements persist concerns not only underdeveloped and developing countries but developed as well, again only proving that it can arise anywhere in the world.

The separatist movements might be considered as an internal and external threat to peace at the same time as it affects many actors. It is, of course, the state where the separatist movement emerged as the minority is willing to gain independence from it, violating the integrity of the state. However, the neighboring countries fall under the blow too. As a result, the separatist sentiments spread further, putting at risk international peace and security as the struggle for independence might escalate into an armed conflict.

The way the political and territorial landscape might change in the result of the separatism movements activity and states breakups has been already seen a couple decades earlier. The consequences of separatism sentiments are quite alarming and might lead not just to autonomy for the state: the events around 1990s show how drastically can the political landscape change not only of a state, but of a region or the world as a whole. The dissolution of Yugoslavia and Kosovo’s demands for autonomy, the split of Yugoslavia, separation of the satellite states of the Soviet Union and the disintegration of the USSR – these brought a big change in a system of international relations, which was not made by peaceful means only (including violent conflict in certain cases).

However, despite the previous examples in history that show the struggle and negative impact for the civilians, the minorities demanding for autonomy might still use violent means. Since it is impossible to eliminate and fully control separatist movements, the issue indeed needs special attention as every case is special. However, there might be still certain common approach or a mechanism in an intergovernmental organization to deal with separatism developed as when it comes to acceptance of the newly emerged actors the opinions divide, which complicates the relations between the states that might have already been uneasy. Thus, the following questions arise: how should the world community react to the cases of separatism? Is it the state’s sole responsibility to deal with separatist movements or they should be regulated in the cooperation with other authorities such as international and intergovernmental organizations? Should there be a universal and unanimous approach to deal with cases of separatism?

In order to answer these questions, it is first important to define to what extent it is possible to give the green light for the separatist movements. Should they all be suppressed in order to save the integrity of a bigger state or should the people be actually given the right for the determination? Of course, it is hard to give a definite answer, however, in order to develop a certain strategy that would allow to tackle and handle the issue of separatism, these questions should be answered as well.

The bigger amount of actors there are in the system of international relations – the more complicated it might be to build dialogue, seek compromise to resolve the conflicts and overall maintain international stability. So, in order to try to decrease or at least regulate the amount of separatist sentiments, the factors that affect the minority’s decision to separate should be taken into considerations. Usually these factors include: discontentment with economy, political and cultural differences.

Most likely, talking about the fact whether these questions should be handled individually or collectively, the latter one seems to be more rational as in the time of globalization any instability can make a great impact on other actors in the system. Dealing with separatist cases has a lot to do with conflict resolution and conflict prevention, which are among the United Nations’ core responsibilities. However, the United Nations’ effectiveness in it is often questionable despite the successful cases. However, as intergovernmental organization that has enough instruments and mandates, it can contribute a lot to the regulation of issues concerned with separatist movements. It can also serve as a platform for discussion of these issues, contributing for building a dialogue for both conflicting parties and the concerned states. So, a greater emphasis on using the intergovernmental organizations might facilitate and manage the conflicts concerned with separatist sentiments, focusing on the use of peaceful means that would prevent from conflict escalation, contributing to international security.

Concerning the unanimous approach, as it was mentioned before, it is hard to develop a single template that would fit all the cases. However, focusing on negotiating in order to eliminate the possibility of escalating to a violent one would certainly contribute to a decrease of negative impact of separatist movements, not bringing it to the extreme. Also, monitoring the development of separatist sentiments would play a big role in a way that it allows to resolve the conflict peacefully. Together, monitoring and early response is probably the best approach to conflict management and resolution, and it has to do with separatist cases as well.

International stability and security is crucially important for the coherent development of the society. Without it maintenance and forehanded response to various threats to it, the international community will face disastrous challenges that potentially would cost human lives. As separatism might be considered as a threat as well, it must addressed and managed at the early stages. Cooperation of the local governments with such intergovernmental organization as the United Nations in these terms would probably be the best strategy in order to ensure a clear understanding of the situation (the demands and position of the parties involved in the conflicting satiation regarding the desire for autonomy), and as a result, take the measures necessary. Again, the early response is highly important as it allows to avoid violence, that is why monitoring of separatist sentiments should be regarded highly.

The current system of international relations is complex and relies a lot on interdependence. The actors in the system are tied up economically and politically, and despite all the benefits they get from it, the way the negative events might affect each of them can become a trigger or a cause for a crisis which would be difficult to resolve. Although separatism might be regarded more as a local threat meaning that the separatist movements can inspire the neighboring countries in the region, if it scales up and continues spreading further and further, it has a potential to result in a crisis of a world scale. So, before it potentially becomes a trend, the preventive measures should be integrated as soon as possible as it always take time to develop them. Managing the conflict when it has already escalated is feasible, but it is very likely that it will be difficult to avoid violence. Developing the grounds, platforms and mechanism that would allow to seek for the most peaceful ways for resolutions has to be done in advance. The cases of separatists sentiments are not so rare, and they are present even in the developed states. There can be listed numerous cases, including Catalonia, Scotland, Kashmir, Hong Kong and so on. These situations should not be left alone as they will not be resolved on their own and can escalate any time. They can grow in numbers, and before it happens, a more developed mechanism for its peaceful management should be created.

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International Law

Freedom of Navigation Operation by US War Ships and UNCLOS – 1982

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DDG 51 Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer. Source: military.com

A US war ship carried out freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) near Lakshadweep Islands in April2021 without prior consent of Indian government. The official statement issued by the Commander of the US seventh fleet, said” the operation was conducted by a guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones to challenge India’s excessive maritime claims. The war ship asserted navigational rights and freedoms approximately 130 nautical miles west of the Lakshadweep Islands, inside India’s exclusive economic zone, without requesting India’s prior consent, consistent with international law. Although India requires prior consent for military exercises or maneuvers in its EEZ or continental shelf. The US forces operate in the Indo-Pacific region on daily basis. All operations are designed in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the US will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows”. It clearly indicates that US does not recognize the conditions imposed by some coastal states on the FONOP in their EEZ and will conduct such operations in future also.

In response, the Indian ministry of external affairs issued a press note saying that “we have conveyed our concerns regarding this passage through our EEZ to the government of the USA through diplomatic channels, the war ship was continuously monitored transiting from the Persian Gulf towards the Malacca Straits”. The lukewarm reaction of India depicts that her reaction will limit to issuing press notes. It is pertinent to mention that US Navy ships avail the facility of innocent passage and transit through the territorial waters of coastal states as well. Probably their argument is that as per United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea(UNCLOS)-1982 it is allowed and restrictions by the coastal state are not in order. US government is appeared to be probing the EEZ and territorial waters of different countries which have issued restrictions which are not commensuration with the Law of the sea convention as per their interpretation. The development of Spartly islands by China in the South China sea may be the central motive. During one year from Oct 2019 to Sep 2020, US challenged the excessive maritime claims of 19 coastal states including Brazil, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and mainland China.

Brief description of territorial waters and EEZ in accordance with UNCLOS- 1982 which is often referred to as the “constitution for the world’s oceans, ”has been signed and ratified by 130 UN members. Fifteen states including USA have not yet ratified and fifteen UN members and observers including Israel and Turkey have neither signed nor ratified. The territorial sea as per article 3 is defined as “every State has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baselines determined in accordance with this Convention. The waters on the landward side of the baseline of the territorial sea form part of the internal waters”. The right of innocent passage as per article 17 is “subject to this Convention, ships (this term needs to be explicitly defined whether it includes warships or not) of all states, whether coastal or land-locked, enjoy the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea”.

It is pertinent to mention that USA had 3 nautical miles’ territorial limits till 1988 when as per New York Times of 29 Dec 88, it was extended to 12 nautical miles in Dec 88by President Reagan. A move partly intended to hinder operations of Soviet spy trawlers that ply American coastlines. It states that it would not affect cruise ships (this term has not been defined to include warships or not) and other merchant vessels on innocent passage through American waters. According to “Oxford Public International Law” while describing innocent passage in both the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Convention on the Territorial Sea & the Contiguous Zone, basic provisions on innocent passage are defined to apply to ‘all ships’ or foreign ships.  Developed maritime states suggest that war ships and other government ships operated for non-commercial purposes are also included. Whereas a number of (mainly developing) states do not include warships. These states have claimed the right to demand prior authorization or at least prior notification of the entry of foreign warships to their territorial waters for innocent passage. These terms need to be explicitly clarified to avoid ambiguity. Most of the coastal states, including Pakistan have imposed restrictions on war ships transiting through the territorial waters.

According to Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act, 1976,“the limit of Pakistan’s territorial waters is twelve nautical miles beyond the land territory and internal waters of Pakistan measured from the baseline, foreign warships, including submarines and other under water vehicles and foreign military aircraft may enter or pass through the territorial waters and the air space over such waters with the prior permission of the Federal Government. Foreign super tankers, nuclear powered ships and ships carrying nuclear or other inherently dangerous or noxious substances or materials may enter or pass through the territorial waters after giving prior notice to the Federal Government”.

Pakistan has hardly observed any incident of violation of territorial waters in the past. However, due to development of Gwadar as a deep draught port, a jugular vein of CPEC, the possibility of surveillance to monitor development in the area cannot be ruled out. Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA), PN, and coastal stations are required to be more watchful. Regarding breadth of EEZ, articles 57, states that “the exclusive economic zone shall not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured”. The article58, which elucidates, right and duties of other states in EEZ, states that, “all States, whether coastal or land-locked, enjoy, subject to the relevant provisions of this Convention, the freedoms referred to in article 87 of navigation and overflight”. Article 87 deals with the freedom of the high seas. Regarding navigation, it states that, the high seas are open to all states, whether coastal or land-locked. Freedom of the high seas is exercised under the conditions laid down by this Convention and by other rules of international law. It comprises, inter alia, both for coastal and land-locked States: (a) freedom of navigation; (b) freedom of overflight”.  From these articles it is evident that EEZ gives freedom of navigation of high seas. War ships can navigate without prior consent / approval of the coastal states. It may be mentioned that there are more than 100 coastal statesin the world. Some of these have large coast like USA 153,707 Km including Alaska and Hawaii andAustralia 83595Km including its islands. Their EEZ extends to 200 NM from respective base lines. It is likely to hamper the freedom of navigation of warships if they have to take consent / approval of each coastal state every time. To conclude, it is suggested all states may honor the territorial waters of the coastal states and take prior permission from the respective government for its warships to transit. Articles 3 and 17 on the subject refer. The coastal states, while considering articles, 57, 58 and 87 may not impose restrictions on navigation of warships in their respective EEZ. The US being one of the Maritime Power may ratify the UNCLOS – 1982 and pursue its allies to do the same. The term warship has been defined in article 29, but it has not been used in the important article 17(right of innocent passage) in which only term ship has been used which is a source of ambiguity. Its clarification is considered essential.     

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International Law

Basic knowledge about Peace Education and how it is beneficial in resolving conflicts

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“Peace education is a pedagogical to create a world at peace by pace we mean more than the absence of violence”-Johan Galtung

Peace education emerged during post World War II, with a variety of definitions and explanations. Generally it is defined as “The education that comprises of planning, pedagogy, skills and teachings that lead towards peace.”

The multifaceted approaches of peace embrace human right education, developmental education, environmental education, conflict resolution education and disarmament education. Peace education is a task of gaining the values, knowledge. The greatest source of building peace are people itself. Peace education brings transformation by erecting cognizance and perception. Peace education should first bid youth and adults to be cognizant of aftermath of a peculiar conflict. Then, they should be asked to use their observing abilities, perceptions and visualize themselves in place of others to recognize their suffering and foster empathy for the ones going through violence.

Peace education encourages young minds to transform conflict in a peaceful manner and conflict resolution through tranquil paths. Peace education involves movement against system. To do so we must keep in mind the phases or levels of peace.

PHASES OF PEACE

There are three (3) phases of peace education:

Cognitive phase,Effective phase and Active phase.

Cognitive phase

NECESSITY OF PEACE EDUCATION

During past two decades the World has suffered many conflicts and highest ratio of violence which affected many countries and regions of world mainly third-world countries. Conflict like war leads to discriminatory disperse of assets.

Peace education is necessary for transformation of conflict in a tranquil method. Peace educations at developing universal values, it prepares to cope up with uncertain circumstances. It is dispensable to develop personal autonomy and influence, nourishes harmony. It has an important social intention. It seems to metamorphose the contemporary social state. It focuses on termination of war.

Social injustice, war and violence imposes long term consequences and affects the routine of common man. With peace education, it is thought that it will wipe out all the sufferings of mankind and makes path towards the transformation of world that is marked by violence. There are many campaigns going on for resolution of conflict, but none can succeed without peace education. It is tier to stave off military conflicts.  It is pivotal for the minds that have knowledge of peace education to use it in nifty fashion to perorate and command conflicts.

VALUES FUNDAMENTAL TO PEACE EDUCATION:

Self respect means having sense of one’s own worth. A person’s background’ defines him. And one leans toward positive change.

Others respect stands for having perception of allure of other people despite of their religion, caste and creed.

Gender equality vouches for bestowing equal rights to all human beings. Not only women but transgender as well, for they are the part of our society.

Justice stands for perception of equal rights. It upholds for the principle of equality and rejection of all kind of exploitation.

Social responsibility visualize enthusiasm to reshape the society in the best possible way

Positive vision has connotation tovisualize the future world full of peace’ a hope of tranquil tomorrow.

SKILLS FUNDAMENTAL TO PEACE EDUCATION:

These skills need to be developed.

Reflection is the use of perceptive thinking, through which people enhance their knowledge and understandings.

Critical thinking and Analysis, having an idea to do a research critical analysis meansability to approach issues with an open mind.

Decision making is the ability to analyze problems and search for their alternative solutions.

Imagination means creating new prototypes and alternative ways of living.

Group building means working in co-operation as a team to achieve goals. The postulate is that everyone has something to contribute, everyone is part of the solution.

Empathy is the ability to see the perception of an individual or a whole group, to see that what they are going through and developing same feeling as them.

SPHERE OF PEACE EDUCATION:

If we talk about the scope and sphere of peace education. Peace education constitutes of many conformation. Peace education accords in building a peaceful society. Main educations among peace education are:

Disarmament Education:

Disarmament protests rose after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki followed by cold war. From here the beginning of peace education evolved as a rejoinder to menaces of nuclear weapons. In recent times, excessive use of arms have become a major concern of peace education. UN Office of Disarmament Affairs) reported that 70 % of the expenditures in the annual global trade on conventional arms, estimated at $ 30 billion, are made by poor countries in the developing world (UNDDA, 2002).

Human Rights Education:

Following the universal declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the movement towards educating people started. This movement was called Human Rights Education. It adds to the enjoyment of pivotal Human Rights. It rose as an important concern to HRE, to teach all the people. Because every individual cannot be taught in a single classroom. HRE comprises of notion of chumminess of rights and responsibilities.

Global Education

It is defined as the programs and education that can help an individual learn more about human rights and care more about world and worldly affairs. It creates a sense to care more about the planet Earth.

Conflict Resolution Education

From the past two decades conflict resolution education have gained thrust. It has been added to the curriculum of many educational institutions. CRE has many important goals one of them is to create a constructive and peaceful society. Teaching students to make them peacemakers and to create n environment that to reach acceptable solutions.CRE principles are now increasingly used in many schools, workplaces, offices in Philippines as well as many parts of the world.

Multi-cultural Education

Multicultural education has developed first in the countries which consist of diversity of multi cultural population. Mainly in the countries having history of receiving immigrants. It helps students to appreciate cultural differences and similarities to create bonds with them. Young children can easily absorb negative stereotypes of the society so multi-cultural education from the beginning level creates a sense of brotherhood among them. Multi-cultural education looks forward to eliminate all these negative stereotypes.

Interfaith Education

The interfaith movement began in 1893 at the World’s Parliament of Religions gathering in Chicago, which gave rise to Interfaith education. It gave rise to many interfaith organizations. It is considered as the most important form of education to promote peace. It creates a sense of co-operation among religions.  

Development Education

Development education emerged in 1960’s. It condemns biased economic order which leaned towards the consequences of hunger, homelessness and marginalization. NGO’s and institutions concerned with it are integrating many issue like inequality in society. It leads to the development of peaceful societies. It seeks to pursue consciousness summons undemocratic structures.

Non-Sexist Education

During the hike of feminism in1960’s there have been endeavour to oppose sexist education. Gender fair education seeks to promote principles that lead towards non-sexist society. A society where everyone practices equal rights despite of their gender. It advocates break down of gender based stereotypes.

CONCLUSION

Peace education is something that promotes tranquility in society. It aids in creating harmony among human beings and their environment. There are many happenings in the world that have no other solution than peace education. It leads towards a calm society. It emerged after WW II to promote quietude in the world. Since then many organizations and NGO’s are operational to promote peace education among individuals and groups of individuals. In a nutshell, one would mention that peace education is the only key to lead world towards positivity and calmness in most aspects. Peace education is a concrete pathway to deal with war and its aftermath. Teaching learners tranquil paths to resolve conflict plays constructive role in society.

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International Law

Is Antarctica the new Eldorado? The sixth continent between claims and international law

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December 1, 2019 marked the 60th anniversary of the signing in Washington of the Antarctic Treaty, the main legal instrument for managing practical activities and regulating interstate relations in the territory 60°parallel South.

On May 2, 1958, the U.S. State Department sent invitations to the governments of Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, Great Britain, New Zealand, Norway, the then South African Union and the USSR for the International Antarctic Conference. It was proposed to convene it in Washington in 1959. The group of participants at the Conference was limited to the countries that had carried out Antarctic projects as part of the International Geophysical Year (IGY) (July 1957-December 1958).

The Soviet Union supported the idea of convening a Conference. In a letter of reply, the Kremlin stressed that the outcome of the Conference should be the International Treaty on Antarctica with the following basic principles: peaceful use of Antarctica with a total ban on military activities in the region and freedom of scientific research and exchange of information between the Parties to the Treaty.

The Soviet government also proposed expanding the group of participants at the Conference to include all parties interested in the issue.

In those years, the international legal resolution of the Antarctic problem had become an urgent task. In the first half of the 20th century, territorial claims to Antarctica had been expressed by Australia, Argentina, Chile, France, Great Britain, New Zealand and Norway.

In response to the Soviet proposal, the United States kept all the territorial claims of various countries on the agenda, but it undertook to freeze them. Russia, however, believed that third parties’ territorial claims had to be denied. At the same time, the position of both States coincided almost entirely insofar as the right to make territorial claims for the ownership of the entire continent could be retained only as pioneers.

The USSR relied on the findings of the expedition by Russian Admiral F.G.Th. von Bellingshausen and his compatriot Captain M.P. Lazarev on the sloops-of-war Vostok and Mirnyj in 1819-1821, while the United States relied on the explorations of N.B. Palmer’s expedition on the sloop Hero in 1820.

The Conference opened on October 15, 1959 in Washington DC. It was attended by delegations from twelve countries that had carried out studies as part of IGY’s programmes in Antarctica.

The Conference ended on December 1, 1959 with the signing of the Antarctic Treaty. This is the main international law instrument governing the planet’s Southern polar region.

The basic principles of the Treaty are the following: peaceful use of the region, as well as broad support for international cooperation and freedom of scientific research. Antarctica has been declared a nuclear-free zone. Previously announced territorial claims in Antarctica have been maintained but frozen and no new territorial claims are to be accepted. The principle of freedom to exchange information and the possibility to inspect the activities of the Parties to the Antarctic Treaty have been proclaimed. The agreement is open to accession by any UN Member State and has no period of validity.

Over time, it has been proposed that the political and legal principles of the Treaty be further developed in the framework of regularly convened consultative meetings. Decisions at these meetings can only be taken by the Parties to the Treaty that have a permanent expedition station in Antarctica.

All decisions are taken exclusively by consensus, in the absence of reasoned objections. The first Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting was held in the Australian capital, Canberra, from 10 to 24 July 1961.

Until 1994 (when the 18th Consultative Meeting was held in Kyoto), meetings were held every one or two years, but since the 19th Meeting held in Seoul in 1995 they have begun to be convened on a yearly basis. The most recent Meeting, the 42nd one, was held in Prague from 11 to 19 July 2019. The 43rdConsultative Meeting will be hosted in Paris on 14-24 June, 2021: the suspension of the Meeting that was to be held in Helsinki from 24 May to 5 June 2020 was due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The 17th Meeting was held in Venice, Italy, on November 11-20, 1992.

The main decisions of the Meetings until 1995 were called recommendations and since 1996 ATCM measures. They come into force following the ratification procedure by the Consultative Parties. A total of 198 recommendations and 194 measures have been adopted.

Over sixty years, the number of Parties to the Antarctic Treaty has increased from twelve founders in 1959 to 54 in 2019. These include 29 countries in Europe, nine in Asia, eight in South America, four in North and Central America, three in Oceania and one in Africa.

The number of Consultative Parties to the Treaty that have national expeditions in Antarctica keeps on growing: Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Chile, the People’s Republic of China, (South) Korea, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Great Britain, India, Italy, Norway, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Ukraine, Uruguay and the United States of America.

The remaining 25 Antarctic Treaty countries with Non-Consultative Party status are invited to attend relevant meetings, but are not included in the decision-making process.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the desire to join the Treaty was reinforced by the desire of many countries to develop Antarctica’s biological and mineral resources. Growing practical interest in Antarctica and its resources led to the need to adopt additional environmental documents.

During that period, recommendations for the protection of Antarctica’s nature were adopted almost every year at the Consultative Meetings. They served as starting material for the creation of three Conventions, which protect the natural environment: 1) the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals; 2) the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources; and 3) the Convention for the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resources.

Later, based on the recommendations and Conventions adopted, the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty was drafted. It became an environmental part of the Treaty and was signed on October 4, 1991 for a period of 50 years at the Madrid Consultative Meeting – hence it is also called the Madrid Protocol.

According to the Protocol, Antarctica is declared a “natural reserve for peace and science” and should be preserved for future generations. After 1991, the new countries that adhered to the Treaty started to show interest in participating in large-scale international research projects on global climate change and environmental protection.

Considering the above, Antarctica can be described as a global scientific laboratory: there are about 77 stations on the continent, which have supplied their scientists from 29 countries. They explore the continent itself, the patterns of climate change on Earth and the space itself.

However, how did it happen that the territories of the sixth continent became the target of scientists from all over the world?

In 1908, Great Britain announced that Graham Land (the Antarctic peninsula south of Ushuaia) and several islands around Antarctica were under the authority of the Governor of the Falkland/Malvinas Islands (claimed by Argentina). The reason for this was that they were/are close to the archipelago.

Furthermore, Great Britain and the United States preferred not to acknowledge that Antarctica had been discovered by the Russian explorers Bellingshausen and Lazarev. According to their version, the discoverer of the continent was James Cook, who saw the impenetrable sea ice of Antarctica, but at the same time confidently insisted that there was no continent south of the Earth.

A dozen years later, the appetites of the British Empire grew and in 1917 it decided to seize a large sector of Antarctica between 20° and 80°meridian West as far as the South Pole. Six years later, Great Britain added to its ‘possessions’ the territory between 150°meridian East and 160°meridian West, discovered in 1841 by the explorer Capt. J.C. Ross, and assigned it to the administration of its New Zealand’s colony.

The British Dominion of Australia received a “plot of land” between 44° and 160° meridian East in 1933. In turn, France claimed its rights to the area between 136° and 142° meridian East in 1924: that area was discovered in 1840 and named Adélie Land by Capt. J. Dumont d’Urville. Great Britain did not mind, and the Australian sector was not disputed by France.

In 1939, Norway decided to have a piece of the Antarctic pie, declaring that the territory between 20° meridian West and 44° meridian East, namely Queen Maud Land, was its own. In 1940 and 1942, Chile and Argentina entered the dispute and the lands they chose not only partially overlapped, but also invaded Britain’s “Antarctic territories”.

Chile submitted a request for an area between 53° and 90° meridian West; Argentina, for an area between 25° and 74°meridian West. The situation began to heat up.

Furthermore, in 1939, Germany announced the creation of the German Antarctic Sector, namely New Swabia, while Japan also formalised its claims to a substantial area of Antarctic ice.

Again in 1939, for the first time the USSR expressed – as a premise and postulate – that Antarctica belonged to all mankind. After the end of World War II, all legal acts of the Third Reich were abandoned and Japan renounced all its overseas territorial claims under the San Francisco Peace Treaty. According to unofficial Japanese statements, however, the country claims its own technical equipment: according to its own version, the deposits lie so deep that no one except Japan possesses the technology to recover and develop them.

By the middle of the 20th century, disputes over Antarctica became particularly acute: three out of seven countries claiming the lands were unable to divide up the areas by mutual agreement. The situation caused considerable discontent among other States, and hampered scientific research. Hence it came time to implement that idea, the results of which have been outlined above.

In 1998, the Protocol on Environmental Protection was added to the Antarctic Treaty. In 1988, the Convention on the Management of Antarctic Mineral Resources had also be opened for signature, but it did not enter into force due to the refusal of the democratic Australian and French governments to sign it. That Convention, however, enshrined great respect for the environment, which laid the foundations for the Protocol on Environmental Protection. Article 7 of that Protocol prohibits any activity relating to mineral resources in Antarctica other than scientific activity. The duration of the Protocol is set at 50 years, i.e. until 2048.

Most likely, its period of validity will be extended, but we have to be prepared for any development of events. Earth’s resources are inevitably running out and it is much cheaper to extract oil and coal in Antarctica than in space. So an oxymoronically near distant dystopian future awaits us.

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