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Launch of Common Declaration on the Peace Flotilla to Diego


Today, 15th April, 2004, through this Press Communique issued in Port Louis, Mauritius, the Common Declaration on the Peace Flotilla to Diego Garcia, was launched.

At a Gathering on the 20th March, 2004, on the world day of protest saying NO TO WAR, NO TO OCCUPATION, which was held at Mother Earth Hall, Grand River North West, Port Louis, Mauritius, Mauritian social, political and trade union organizations met to discuss and amend the draft COMMON DECLARATION on the PEACE FLOTILLA TO DIEGO GARCIA. The draft document was discussed and amended, to produce the final document below:

The initial signatories of this historic document, at this crucial moment in history, are:
Comité pour Amelioration de la Sante (Serge Rayapoullé), Lalit (Lindsey Collen), Federation of Civil Service and Other Unions (Tulsiraj Benydin), Ledikasyon pu Travayer (Pushpa Lallah), General Workers Federation (Devianand Narrain), Federation des Travailleurs Unis (Atma Shanto), Federation of Free Workers (Auguste Follet), Federation of Progressive Unions (Amba Lutchoomanen), Institute for Consumer Protection (Sahebdin Mosadeq), Muvman Liberasyon Fam (Rajni Lallah), Federation of Preschool Playgroups (Shirley Seedoo), Fangurin (Nicholas Ragoonauth), JUSTICE (Jean Claude Bibi), Mauritius Labour Congress (Jugdish Lollbeeharry), Government Servants Association (Radakrishna Sadien), CEDREFI (Pynee Chellapermal), Sahringon (Southern African Human Rights NGOs Network, Lindsay Morvan), Fédération des Syndicats des Corps Constitues (Deepak Benydin), ABAIM (Marousia Bovary).

The Chagos Refugees Group, which was present on 20th March, is part of the Peace Flotilla Initiative.

Other organizations are invited to adhere to the Common Declaration. It is this conscious mass support that will be the basis for the success of the return to Diego Garcia.

International Support already gained:
Over 100 organizations world-wide have shown support, to Lalit, for the initiative of a ship or flotilla to take the Chagossians back to Diego Garcia. They range from huge organizations like the CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) in the UK, to big anti-base organizations in Okinawa, Japan and in South Korea, from War Veterans Organizations in the USA to womens groups in the USA, from organizations in Philippines and Puerto Rico that led successful campaigns to close down the bases like Subico Bay and Clark in the Philippines and Vieques only last year on 1st May in Puerto Rico, from Peace committees within the Quaker religion, to anti-war movements in South Africa and Holland. During the World Social Forum in Mumbai, and during the Intercontinental Youth Camp held as part of the WSF, in January, 2004, both Lalit members and the Chagos Refugees Group members gave speeches, which put the issue of Diego Garcia firmly on the agenda.

Peace Flotilla to Diego Garcia
On the occasion of 20th March worldwide protests against war and against occupation, we, as representatives of organizations, met so as to discuss, amend and adopt the following important statement:

On 12th March, 2004 we celebrated Independence and Republic Day, reminding us of the urgent necessity of returning and re-uniting all the islands of Mauritius, including the islands of the Chagos Archipelago, namely Peros Banos, Salomon, Diego Garcia, to the Republic of Mauritius. The Chagos Archipelago, including Diego Garcia, was illegally excised by the UK, the former colonial power, and Diego Garcia was unlawfully handed over to the US that has since occupied it and used it as a military base to wage war against Iraq and other nations.

We wish, by our signature below, to make it abundantly clear to everyone in the world that we object strongly to a part of Mauritian land continuing to be used as a launch pad from which to drop bombs on living people, their societies and civilizations, all living things they know and the natural world they live in, leaving desolation where there was life.

As part of the worldwide protest against war and against occupation particularly of Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, we call for an end to the USA-UK occupation of Diego Garcia.

We call for closure of the US-UK military base on Diego Garcia.

We call for the clean-up of Diego Garcia and the Chagos Islands, after all the ecological damage that the USA and UK have inflicted on these pristine coral islands, being particularly careful to remove all the dangers associated with stocking of nuclear weapons.

We call for the closure of all US military bases world-wide, and for the closure of all other imperial military bases. We oppose the opening of new military bases.

We support the initiative to get a ship to take Chagossians back to Diego Garcia and the Chagos. This would embody their right to return, bearing in mind that they have never given up their struggle to recover their homeland. And we support their claim for full reparations for the harm and suffering they have endured as a result of their forcible removal.

We support this ship initiative as it becomes transformed into the plan for a whole Peace Flotilla to go to Diego Garcia, as its first port of call. We demand the re-unification of the Chagos Archipelago to the Republic of Mauritius. We want peace in the Indian Ocean, peace in the whole world.

We call on all workers organizations, social movements, womens, youth and neighbourhood organizations and all peace loving people to join in and to support the peace flotilla.