Government strongly deplores that United Kingdom (UK) has chosen to reject the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 73/295 when it has clearly violated international law. In so doing, the UK has resorted to groundless arguments, calling into question the authority of the highest court of the world and the UN system as a whole. This situation clearly leaves the UK as an illegal colonial occupier.
This statement was made by the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs and External Communications, Minister for Rodrigues, Outer Islands and Territorial Integrity, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, yesterday, at the First Session of the Seventh National Assembly.
The Prime Minister was referring to the Advisory Opinion issued by the ICJ on 25 February 2019 regarding the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965, at the request from the UNGA. The Opinion supported by 13 of 14 Judges of the Court made clear that the Chagos Archipelago is, and has always been, a part of Mauritius. The fourteenth Judge did not express a contrary conclusion.
According to the Prime Minister, the UK has been repeating that it does not share the approach of the ICJ and that the Court failed to give sufficient regard to some material facts. The UK Government's defiant criticism of the ICJ and its blatant disregard for the Advisory Opinion of the Court and UNGA Resolution 73/295, undermine its long-standing commitment to a rules-based international system, said the Prime Minister, adding that the UK Government's stand has been condemned by the UK Leader of the Opposition who has made it clear that a Labour Government will respect the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice in full.
For the Prime Minister, the UK cannot profess to be a champion of the rule of law and human rights whilst maintaining an illegal colonial administration in part of the territory of Mauritius and preventing the return to the Chagos Archipelago of the former inhabitants it forcibly removed five decades ago, thereby being in clear violation of international law. It is not for any country to determine for itself which rules of international law it will abide by and which it will not, he said.
He called upon the UK to comply with its obligations under international law, as clearly set out in the Advisory Opinion of the ICJ and reaffirmed by the UNGA in its Resolution 73/295, and to end its unlawful administration of the Chagos Archipelago, a resolution adopted by an overwhelming majority of 116 votes against only 6 votes.
Government, Mr Jugnauth said, will continue to be relentless in its efforts to complete the decolonisation process of Mauritius and remains strongly committed to implementing a programme for urgent resettlement in the Chagos Archipelago. The systematic refusal by the UK to allow the former residents of the Chagos Archipelago to return is a particularly grave matter and violates their most fundamental human rights.