Hon. Dr. Arvin Boolell, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Regional Cooperation,
New Government Centre, Port Louis.
Re: LALIT Proposes “Road Map” on Diego Garcia and Chagos
As the illegal lease between the UK and USA on Diego Garcia is being negotiated for renewal for another 20 years, we in LALIT believe that it is a propitious time for the Mauritian government to act. It is time for a “Road Map”. LALIT is proposing Government one.
The aim of the road map is multiple: to end the UK’s illegal dismembering of Mauritian territory which was a null and void condition for Independence, and to end the continued illegal British occupation of its phantom colony BIOT, which is nothing other than Mauritian land and sea; and to close down the supposed “communications station” that the UK-US set up there, which turned out to be an outrageous military base on Diego Garcia, a base that now stocks nuclear materials and services nuclear submarines; and to organize to end the brutally engineered exile of the entire Chagossian people, so that they can return to the Chagos, heads held high, as Mauritians. The Mauritian government should seize this moment to proceed towards the complete decolonization of the Mauritius, including Chagos.
It is only by principled action that Mauritius can hope to re-unify its territory and its people; hope to get the military base on Diego Garcia closed down so that this land of ours is no longer used for aggression against States on which Mauritius has not declared war; and, importantly, hope to bring an end to the profound suffering of all the Chagossians, and to do this by creating the necessary conditions for their right to return to Chagos as Mauritians.
As you are aware the original 50-year illegal lease between the British “thief” and the US “receiver of stolen goods”, expires in 2016. Negotiations for its renewal are due to start, according to the original lease, this year. It is now generally known that the UK and US are already involved in further devious “manoeuvres”; they are now extracting collusion from those UK-based Chagossians who do not recognize Mauritain sovereignty over the Chagos, while offering them a bribe of settlement and work on the Diego Garcia military base. All this is being done behind the backs of the Mauritian authorities and the entire Mauritian people, including Chagossians. We commend your stand on the issue of the British Minister’s recent visit to Chagos behind the Mauritian Government’s back. But stands must be coherent, principled and consistent. We call on Government, for example, at the same time to put a stop to the sale of rocks and any commodities to the US and UK occupation forces on Diego and Chagos.
Here is the Road Map that LALIT proposes:
1. That the Mauritian Government continue with the UNCLOS case against Britain to get the fake colonial “Marine Protected Area” declared illegal.
2. At the same time, the Mauritius State must at once start procedures to inscribe a resolution on the Chagos/Diego Garcia issue on the agenda of this year’s UN General Assembly to get backing for the request for an “advisory opinion” at the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the Hague. The Mauritian Government should simultaneously seek the diplomatic support of regional bodies such as the COI, African Union, COMESA and the SADC as well as countries in the Commonwealth and ex-Non-Aligned Movement, on the Chagos/Diego Garcia issue. In the past, some of these institutions have taken firm stands in favour of the decolonization of Mauritian territory.
Once a resolution has been voted at the UN General Assembly, this gives Mauritius the necessary strength to put a case against Britain for an ‘advisory opinion’ on the dismembering of the country and the continued military occupation of Mauritius. Such an opinion by this prestigious international court has immense political weight and would be a strong tool in the hands of Mauritius as well as anti-colonial and anti-military-bases movements to internationalize the campaign for the re-unification of Mauritian territory, for the closure and dismantling of the US nuclear base on Diego Garcia and for the right of return to be won in full dignity for all Chagossians.
3. Mauritius must remind the world that the Seychelles claimed back and won its Islands illegally bundled into BIOT prior to Independence and that this was done with the legal help of a Mauritian, the late Rajsoomer Lallah.
4. That Mauritius, being a member of the Secretariat under the Pelindaba Treaty for a Nuclear-Arms Free Africa (AFCONE) should call at once for UN (IAEA) inspections on Diego Garcia, to check for compliance with this Treaty. The call for inspections can be launched at next week’s 24-27 March meeting which we hear will be held in Mauritius.
5. To constantly, during all bilateral and multi-lateral work that Mauritius undertakes, draw international attention to the military occupation of Chagos/Diego Garcia and its human toll on Chagossians. To continue to call for support for the UN resolution to make the Indian Ocean a Peace Zone.
6. After the article in The Independent last week about the dumping of waste in the Diego Garcia lagoon, it is important that as well as getting the base closed down, that a proper clean-up of the sea be instituted, at the expense of the UK and USA Governments. We propose that the Mauritian Government calls for the UK and US to tax Corporations that supply the US military.
7. That the Mauritian Government constantly act and legislate in ways that visibly include the Chagos as part of Mauritius. We re-iterate our proposal, for example, for a Constituency for Chagossians in the context of all Electoral Reform proposals. All Ministries must be involved in this process of continually defining the country of Mauritius not as “an Island” or “l’Ile Maurice” but as a series of islands, including Diego Garcia and the whole of Chagos.
8. That the Mauritian Government remember to quote US President Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron who have both declared the Sunday referendum in the Crimea “illegal”, when the UK and US, at some point, as their last-ditch fall-back option, will no doubt call for an even less “legal” referendum amongst Chagossians.
18 March, 2014