LALIT has for a long time been writing email letters to British Opposition MPs and backbenchers for support, as elected people, for the Diego Garcia and Chagos issues of base closure, re-unification of Mauritius, and right of return of Chagossians. Given that Britain has a system of Early Day Motions, which backbenchers can put on the Agenda of the House of Commons (UK Parliament), one such MP, Patrick Grady of the Scottish National Party, put up a motion on 26 June, following the UN General Assembly vote 94-15 in favour of Mauritius. This way, MPs are opposing their Government directly. It is a real victory for the ideological struggle against colonization and its long-term effects on Africa, including Mauritius, including Diego Garcia.
17 MPs sponsored the motion. Now, after the Parliamentary holidays in UK, the number who have signed up in support of the Early Day Morion has reached 26.
An important addition is Tom Brake who is Shadow Leader of the House for the Liberal Democrats. So, the Scottish National Party and the Green Party, as well as the Lib Dems now, all have their leadership supporting the motion. This means of the 25 MPs, 17 are Scottish National Party MPs, 1 is even a Democratic unionist Party (in the Theresa May Government coalition), 4 Labour Party, 1 Liberal Democrat, 1 Green Party, 2 Plaid Cymru (Welsh Party).
Meanwhile, on 1 September, LALIT received a reply from Jeremy Corbyn’s office saying, “The contents of your correspondence have been noted and passed on to our policy team.” This will be a real test of the Jeremy Corbyn leadership. He is known to be anti-militarist, and in favour of Chagossian rights, but his silence, so far, on the question of sovereignty is of concern. Four of his MPs, meanwhile, have already signed up.
Here is the contents of the early day motion:
Early day motion (No 58) in UK Parliament on 26.06.2017
“U.N. VOTE ON CHAGOS ISLANDS
“That this House welcomes the adoption by the UN General Assembly of Resolution 71/292 which requests an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965 including the consequences in international law for the resettlement of the Chagos Islanders; notes that the Chagos Archipelago was excised from Mauritius in 1965 prior to independence in 1968, notwithstanding UN Resolution 1514 of 1960 concerning the violation of territorial integrity of colonial countries prior to the independence, and Resolution 2066 of 1965 demanding the UK take no action which would dismember the territory of Mauritius and violate its territorial integrity; further notes that 94 UN member states supported Resolution 71/292 with 15 against, and 65 abstentions, including Canada and Switzerland, as well as 22 EU member states including France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Estonia, Latvia, Greece and Finland; believes that this vote signifies a diplomatic failure for the Government, which finds itself increasingly isolated and with diminishing influence on the world stage; encourages the Government to resume bilateral discussions with Mauritius with a view to resolving the issues and also to respect any advisory opinion given by the ICJ; draws attention to the 1,500 Chagos Islanders, and their descendants, who were deported from the islands by the UK between 1968 and 1973 so that Diego Garcia could be used as a military base by the US; is appalled that after nearly 50 years this situation remains unresolved; and demands that the Government fulfil its humanitarian and human rights obligations and allow the Chagossians to return home.”
Total number of signatures, now acting as sponsors: 26
Grady, Patrick (Primary Sponsor)
Saville Roberts, Liz
LALIT is continuing to put pressure on Governments of other States, through our contacts abroad for their Governments to submit dossiers in favour of the Mauritius-African union resolution, to the ICJ before the end of January.
11 September 2017