Venezuelan referendum on Guyana’s Essequibo is contrary to international law -says Commonwealth SG

Venezuelan referendum on Guyana’s Essequibo is contrary to international law -says Commonwealth SG

Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, today expressed concerns over the recent decision of the Venezuelan National Assembly to undertake a referendum on the status of Guyana’s Essequibo region.

In a statement, the Commonwealth Secretary-General “the Commonwealth stands with the Government and people of Guyana and with our partners in CARICOM in expressing our concern over the questions in the planned referendum. And the Commonwealth continues to stand for the rule of law and, reaffirms its firm and steadfast support for the maintenance and preservation of the sovereign and territorial integrity of Guyana, and the unobstructed exercise of its rights to develop the entirety of its territory for the benefit of its people”.

According to the Commonwealth SG, the five questions approved by the National Electoral Council to be included in the referendum undermines Guyana’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and their intent is contrary to international law.

“Question 5 proposes the creation of Venezuelan state of Guyana Essequibo and an accelerated plan for giving Venezuelan citizenship and identity cards to the Guyanese population. International law prohibits the seizure and annexation by one country of the territory of another. The language in these questions contributes to heightened tension and is a threat to peace and stability in a member state of our Commonwealth Family and indeed in the wider Caribbean region,” Ms. Scotland said.

At the last meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Group on Guyana, held in September 2023, the Group reaffirmed its unwavering support for the judicial process that is underway before the International Court of Justice.

According to Secretary General Scotland, the planned referendum by Venezuela goes against the spirit of peaceful resolutions.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) determined in April of this year that it has legal jurisdiction over this longstanding issue and the Commonwealth supports the use of the ICJ to adjudicate on the matter.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login