A delegation led by the Minister Mentor, Minister of Defence and Minister for Rodrigues, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, and comprising of the Chairman and Leader of the Chagos Refugees Group, Mr Olivier Bancoult, as well as other members of the Chagossian community, are participating in the public hearings of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which will be held from 3rd to 6th September 2018 in The Hague, Netherlands.
The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth reiterated that the denial of the right of Mauritians, particularly those of Chagossian origin, to settle in the Chagos Archipelago is a manifest breach of international law and a violation of their human rights. In the light of this issue, he recalled, the United Nations General Assembly had sought for an advisory opinion of the ICJ on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965, to which some 94 countries reacted favourably.
The request, he pointed out, was based on two legal questions pertaining to whether the process of decolonisation of Mauritius was lawfully completed when the country was granted Independence in 1968, following the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius; and the consequences under international law, arising from the continued administration by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of the Chagos Archipelago, including the resettlement of Chagossians on their native place.
The Prime Minister highlighted that in this context, Mauritius along with the African Union and nine countries have already submitted their written comments to the ICJ in absolute confidentiality. Mauritius, he added, will be the first State to intervene at the hearings and will make its oral statement on Monday 3rd September 2018 from 12:00 hrs to 15:00 hrs (Mauritius time). The oral statement of Mauritius will be followed by that of the UK in the afternoon of the same day. Other States will make their oral statements during the sittings which will be held over the remaining two days.
Prime Minister Jugnauth underlined that Government is determined to improve the welfare of the Chagossian community and support their legitimate right to resettle in the Chagos Archipelago while adding that the country has reached a crucial phase in its efforts to complete the decolonisation process. He thus called for national unity and expressed great hope for fruitful outcomes at the ICJ.
Olivier Bancoult, for his part, emphasised that the public hearings of the ICJ mark a milestone moment in the long-lasting struggle of Chagossians against the disrespect of their rights to resettling on their native place. He reaffirmed the full support of the Chagos community to Government's pursuit for the completion of the decolonisation process of Mauritius and excision of sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago.
On this score, he urged all Mauritians irrespective of their religious and political belonging, to join efforts in the fight against the violation of human rights as this matter concerns each and every one.