LALIT is publishing both the UK Minister's update again banning Chagossians and taking other colonialist stands, and also the response of the Mauritian State. We are doing this in the interests of enabling the public to have easy access to ways of checking the truth. Primary sources are of increased importance today, when lies are peddled as facts.
The UK statement is followed by the Mauritian reaction. LALIT's response is in a separate article in the News Section adjacent to this one.
update on the British Indian Ocean Territory:Written statement HCWS260 UK Parliament
Made by: Sir Alan Duncan (The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
update on the British Indian Ocean Territory:Written statement
My right Honourable Friend, the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns), has made the following written Ministerial statement: On 24 March 2016 the former Parliamentary UnderSecretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend East (James Duddridge) informed the House that the Government would be carrying out further work On its review of resettlement policy in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). I would now like to inform Parliament of two decisions which have been made concerning the future of BIOT.
Parliament will be aware of the Government’s review and consultation over the resettlement of the Chagossian people to BIOT. The manner in which the Chagossian community was removed from the Territory in the 1960s and 1970s, and the way they were treated, was wrong and we look back with deep regret. We have taken care in coming to our final decision on resettlement, noting the community’s emotional ties to BIOT and their desire to go back to their former way of life.
This comprehensive programme of work included an independent feasibility study followed by a full public consultation in the UK, Mauritius and the Seychelles. I am today announcing that the Government has decided against resettlement of the Chagossian people to the British Indian Ocean Territory on the grounds of feasibility, defence and security interests, and cost to the British taxpayer. In coming to this decision the Government has considered carefully the practicalities of setting up a small remote community on lowlying islands and the Challenges that any community would face. These are significant, and include the challenge of effectively establishing modern public services, the limited healthcare and education that it would be possible to provide, and the lack of economic opportunities, particularly job Prospects. The Government has also considered the interaction of any potential community with the US Naval Support Facility – a vital part of our defence relationship.
The Government will instead seek to support improvements to the livelihoods of Chagossians in the communities where they now live. I can today announce that we have agreed to fund a package of approximately £40 million over the next ten years to achieve this goal. This money addresses the most pressing needs of the community by improving access to health and social care and to improved education and employment opportunities. Moreover, this fund will support a significantly expanded programme of visits to BIOT for native Chagossians. The Government will work closely with Chagossian communities in the UK and overseas to develop costeffective programmes which will make the biggest improvement in the life chances of those Chagossians who need it most.
Parliament will also be aware that the agreements underpinning the UK/US defence facility will roll over automatically on 31 December if neither side breaks silence. In an increasingly dangerous world, the defence facility is used by us and our allies to combat some of the most difficult problems of the 21st century including terrorism, international criminality, instability and piracy. I can today confirm that the UK continues to welcome the US presence, and that the agreements will continue as they stand until 30 December 2036.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS257
MAURITIAN STATE's RESPONSE issued by Prime Minister's Office, Port Louis
The Government of Mauritius has taken note of the statement made to the UK Parliament on 16 November 2016 by the UK Government concerning decisions it has purportedly taken to the effect that:
(a) the Chagossian community will not be allowed to resettle in the Chagos Archipelago;
(b) a £40 million package will be funded over the next 10 years by the UK Government to support improvements to the livelihoods of the Chagossians; and
(c) the US presence in the Chagos Archipelago under current arrangements with the UK will continue until 2036.
The Government of Mauritius reaffirms that the Chagos Archipelago has always formed and continues to form an integral part of the territory of Mauritius and that it does not recognise the so-called “British Indian Ocean Territory”.
The Government of Mauritius wishes to reiterate that it does not also recognise the legality of the actions that the UK has purported, or is purporting, to take in respect of the Chagos Archipelago as they are in breach of international law. This includes, but is not limited to, the unilateral decisions purportedly taken by the UK Government with regard to resettlement in the Chagos Archipelago and the continuation of the UK-US agreement in respect of the Chagos Archipelago until 2036.
The Government of Mauritius considers that the UK has acted in blatant breach of the letter and spirit of the Award delivered on 18 March 2015 in the case brought by Mauritius against the UK under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, inasmuch as the UK has failed to fully involve Mauritius, as required by the Award, in the renewed use, until 2036, of the Chagos Archipelago for the purposes for which it is currently being used.
The Government of Mauritius notes with concern that the fact that the statement is completely silent both on the discussions that were intended to take place between Mauritius and the UK on the completion of the process of decolonisation and on sovereignty, as agreed in New York last September and the clear obligations of the UK under the UNCLOS Award is very revealing of the UK Government’s approach to the rights of Mauritius and the plight of Mauritians of Chagossian origin.
The Government of Mauritius protests strongly against the unilateral decision of the UK Government aimed at denying Mauritian citizens of Chagossian origin their legitimate right of return to the Chagos Archipelago.
The Government of Mauritius also reiterates that the denial of the right of Mauritians in general, and those of Chagossian origin in particular, to settle in the Chagos Archipelago is a manifest breach of international law and outrageously flouts their human rights.
While any financial assistance could provide some relief to Mauritians of Chagossian origin, no amount of money and no public apology by the UK Government can make lawful what is unlawful, or dilute the rights of Mauritius under international law and as reflected in the various resolutions of the United Nations. The Government of Mauritius remains fully sensitive to the plight of Mauritians of Chagossian origin and supports their relentless struggle to remove all obstacles to the full enjoyment of their human rights.
The Government of Mauritius will relentlessly pursue its initiatives in conformity with international law to complete the decolonisation of Mauritius, thereby enabling Mauritius to effectively exercise its sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago.
In light of the above, and in view of the purported unilateral actions of the UK, Mauritius would be fully justified in taking forward the completion of the process of decolonisation, which is now on the agenda of the current session of the UN General Assembly, with a view to putting the matter before the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion.
Prime Minister’s Office, 17 November 2016