LALIT sent the letter below to the Prime Minister Monday 14 November. Here is the content of our letter:
We write regarding your good initiative to reclaim, together with the Chagos Refugees Group, sovereignty over the Chagos, including Diego Garcia, via the International Court of Justice. We note with concern, however, that this item has been put on hold up till June 2017 at the UN General Assembly – what with the present already-illegal 50-year lease agreement between the UK and the US expiring, as you know, in December this year.
In your speech at the UN General Assembly, you quite rightly challenged the UK stand that Diego Garcia be kept for “defence purposes” now that the era of the Cold War – the supposed justification for the occupation of Chagos – is over. The Mauritian State’s explanatory memorandum to the UN also points out that:
“The United Kingdom (...) also tacitly admits the impropriety of its actions, stating that
it will return the Chagos Archipelago to Mauritius once it is no longer required for defence purposes. An arbitral tribunal acting under Part XV of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea recently unanimously found that this commitment to return the Chagos Archipelago to Mauritius is binding under international law, acknowledging that Mauritius has real and firm legal rights with respect to the Chagos Archipelago.”
Now, as the Mauritius-UK meeting in London approaches, and as the UK and US clearly continue to negotiate lease renewal for military purposes – for attack, not defence; for illegal torture of prisoners; for stocking nuclear weapons; for stocking cluster bombs – we call on you to take a public stand against lease renewal. Any acceptance of a new lease risks weakening the Mauritian State’s position.
We note with satisfaction that the Mauritian State is finally recognising that the complete decolonization of the Republic of Mauritius, the dismantling of the fake British Indian Ocean Territories colony, and the re-unification of Mauritius is “indissociable” from the right of return for all Mauritians of Chagossian origin. It is time for the Mauritian State to recognise it is impossible for Mauritius to exercise sovereignty over Chagos without the US military base on Diego Garcia closing down. This is also “indissociable” from Chagos decolonisation and the right of return with free circulation to the Chagos and back for all Chagossians and all Mauritians. Your recent award for “Peace” would indeed be vindicated if you were to call for a date for the US to close down the US base. There is a new US President elect and that calls for a swift, principled stand “for peace” on your part.
We again put on record that, in line with LALIT’s Second Declaration of Grande Riviere, a request for inspections under the UN Pelindaba Treaty for a Nuclear Arms Free Africa has been submitted to Dr. Mohamed Derdour, first-ever executive Secretary of the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE). This letter, as we informed you, was signed by Mr. Cassam Uteem, former President of the Republic; Barrister Jean-Claude Bibi, former Attorney General as well as by Alain Ah-Vee, Lindsey Collen, Ragini Kistnasamy as representatives of the organizers of the Second LALIT Conference on Diego Garcia.
153 Main Road, Grand River North West,
Port Louis, Republic of Mauritius.
To, The Prime Minister
PMO Office, Treasury Building,