Facebook, Twitter asked to remove posts with illegal maps of Guyana

The Chief Executive Officers of Facebook and Twitter have been written to in light of a renewed orchestrated disinformation campaign being waged against Guyana by a number of Spanish-language social media accounts claiming Guyana’s territory by publishing illegal maps.

In his letters to Facebook and Twitter CEOs, Foreign Secretary Robert M. Persaud highlighted that those social media operatives have been utilising Facebook and Twitter platform, to propagate a false narrative regarding the extant matter of the controversy between Guyana and Venezuela about the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award which settled the land boundary between Guyana and Venezuela.

The original and legal map of Guyana

Mr. Persaud stated, “I wish to point out that Facebook (and Twitter) posts and the subsequent comments surrounding the particular posts, have the potential to permanently damage relations between States, incite violence against the territory and people of Guyana, and derail the current adjudication of the matter before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).’’

The Foreign Secretary informed that the land boundary between Guyana and Venezuela was settled by a legal process of International Arbitration on October 3, 1899, pursuant to an 1897 Treaty of Washington by which both parties agreed to respect the results of the arbitration as a full, perfect and final settlement of the boundary.

At that time, Guyana was British Guiana, a colony of Great Britain.

As required by the 1897 Treaty of Washington and the 1899 Arbitral Award, the boundary as determined by the Award was demarcated on the ground between 1900 and 1904 by Commissioners appointed by Britain and Venezuela.

On January 7, 1905, the official boundary map delineating the boundary as awarded and demarcated, was drawn up and signed by the Commissioners of both Britain and Venezuela and promulgated in Georgetown, at the Combined Court.

That boundary and the corresponding territory of Guyana are internationally recognised, including by the United Nations, Mr. Persaud pointed out in the letter.

“In this regard, I am requesting that these types of Facebook posts (and Twitter) which violate the basic tenet of international relations between States, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and incite a threat of use of force against Guyana, be removed forthwith and more stringent measure be taken against their publications,’’ the Foreign Secretary’s letter urged.

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