Tuesday seminar with Alejandra Mancilla
Since 1959, the year in which the Antarctic Treaty (AT) was signed by 12 countries, the territorial claims of seven of the original signatories have remained untouched or frozen. Since then, new parties to the treaty and new international actors have offered alternative accounts of how territorial rights ought to be understood in the last uninhabited continent. In this article, I examine the moral force of the grounds given to support the seven original claims. I suggest that the latter can be divided in two main types: those that rely on some sort of connection between the claiming state and the claimed area; and those that rely on historical documents and other instruments of international law. I point to some of the limitations and challenges that they face, and conclude with some remarks on how this assessment ought to serve as a starting point wherefrom to rethink issues of sovereignty and territoriality in Antarctica—and maybe also beyond.