Islands, statehood, archipelagic states and their entitlements

Date & time

12.30–1.30pm Friday 19 October 2018


Attorney-General's Department

3 National Circuit, Barton


Professor Donald R Rothwell


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Presented by The Centre for International & Public Law

CIPL International Law Lunchtime Seminar
Don Rothwell

Join a group of 20-25 CIPL members at a monthly brown bag (BYO) lunch to hear short presentations by specialists on recent developments in international law, followed by general discussion.

The status of islands and their peoples has raised a series of issues for international law over time. From the 1921 Aaland Islands case to the current Chagos Archipelago Advisory Opinion, islands and their peoples have occupied governments, the League of Nations, the United Nations, and international courts and tribunals. Self-determination for island peoples remains a live issue in international law which Australia is familiar with given its history with Papua New Guinea and Nauru, and external territories such as Norfolk Island. In 2018 a self-determination referendum is scheduled for New Caledonia which if successful will impact upon the legal landscape of the region. This paper revisits some of these modern challenges faced by international law with respect to the status of islands and islanders. Attention will be given to the significance of independent island States to declare themselves as ‘archipelagic States’ under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the implications this has for maritime entitlements and maritime boundaries.


  • Donald R Rothwell »

    Donald R Rothwell is Professor of International Law at the ANU College of Law. His research has a specific focus on law of the sea, law of the polar regions, and implementation of international law within Australia as reflected in 24 authored, co-authored and edited books, and over 200 articles, book chapters and notes in international and Australian publications. 

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