LALIT calls publicly on Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth to take action following the Freedom of Information disclosure by the United States authorities published in The New Internationalist of 11 June exposing “catastrophic” dangers of explosions on Diego Garcia.
This kind of risk of a “catastrophe” on Mauritian territory needs to be investigated urgently. Is it linked to nuclear dangers? This is a key question.
What the Prime Minister must do is to begin proceedings for UN inspections for nuclear material, under the Pelindaba Treaty for a Nuclear Arms Free Africa. This should be done via the AFCONE (African Committee on Nuclear Energy), which can then call for experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to conduct the inspections on Diego Garcia. They are entitled to do this on a request from the State of Mauritius because Diego Garcia forms part of Chagos, which is part of Mauritius, which is part of African union, and where the UK illegally occupies the whole of Chagos and sub-lets Diego Garcia to the United States for its military base there.
This kind of demand for inspections is how a State shows that it is serious about sovereignty. It is important to act this way before the 3 September 2018 ICJ Hearing.
Mauritius has the support of 94 countries for the ICJ case proposed by the African union in the General Assembly of the UN on 22 June last. In addition, 122 countries voted the Treaty for the Banning of All Nuclear Arms two weeks after the UN vote on taking the UK to the ICJ over Chagos. This Treaty banning all nuclear weapons is a trailblazer. All nuclear arms must gradually be dismantled. This will prevent the future of humanity being exposed to dangers of war and of accidents, as well as remove the possibility of individual leaders as unstable as Donald Trump and Kim Jon Un having the world’s future literally in their hands.
The New Internationalist Article states that Diego Garcia is “continuously subjected to explosive hazards that could threaten the lives of some of the 4,000 US military employees living there [as well presumably as the hundreds of Philippine, Mauritian and other workers employed on the base], and British staff, and destroy part of a world-class conservation area”. If one couples this danger with the knowledge that there is nuclear material secretly stocked there, and that nuclear submarines are serviced there since the Italian base responsible for this became too unpopular and was closed down, then inspections are essential. Here is what the Pelindaba Treaty is aimed to ensure:
Article 4: Prevention of stationing of nuclear explosive devices: (1). Each Party undertakes to prohibit, in its territory, the stationing of any nuclear explosive device.
Article 10: Each Party undertakes to maintain the highest standards of security and effective physical protection of nuclear materials
while the Treaty abolishing Nuclear Arms. Mauritius voted in favour. The Treaty also says:
Article 1. Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to: ... (g) Allow any stationing, installation or deployment of any nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices in its territory or at any place under its jurisdiction or control.
Mauritius is already an elected member of the AFCONE committee, so this kind of initiative where Mauritius calls for IAEA inspections via AFCONE will consolidate the support that Mauritius received from African countries over the Chagos issue, as well as clearly being the correct thing to do in the interests of peace, elementary safety, and taking due care of the territory that is part of Mauritius.
Alain Ah-Vee, for LALIT, 30 June 2018