The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland KC, expressed grave concern over the implications of Venezuela’s planned referendum on December 3 regarding the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy following the recent decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
In response to the ICJ’s unanimous decision on December 1, which stated Venezuela must refrain from actions modifying Guyana’s current administrative control over the territory pending a final ruling, the Commonwealth reiterated its full support for Guyana, a valued member of the organization.
Expressing apprehension regarding Venezuela’s upcoming referendum, the Commonwealth highlighted its potential challenges to the ICJ’s jurisdiction.
“While all states are encouraged to consult their citizenry, the Commonwealth notes with deep concern that the planned referendum…in Venezuela will challenge the ICJ’s jurisdiction, propose a formal annexation of the Essequibo territory, give Venezuelan citizenship and national identity cards to nationals of Guyana in the region under dispute, potentially be a license to violate the territorial integrity of Guyana and constitute an aggravation of the dispute which the…decision of the ICJ discourages,” Scotland outlined.
The Secretary-General underscored the Commonwealth’s steadfast belief in due process, respect for national territorial sovereignty, international law, global order, peace, security, and amicable international relations in the Caribbean and Latin American region.
The Commonwealth unequivocally condemned any actions threatening regional peace by calling upon all United Nations members to uphold the ICJ’s decisions and the binding nature of Article 41’s provisional measures. Emphasizing the need for a peaceful diplomatic resolution, the organization extended its support to both governments in finding a mutually beneficial solution for the well-being of both nations and future generations.
The Commonwealth’s statement concluded with a resounding call for peace, truth, and justice to prevail in the region amidst the challenging situation.