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Open Letter to the Prime Minister: Request to set in motion Advisory Opinion on Chagos at ICJ

19.11.2007

November 2007
Hon. Navin Ramgoolam, Prime Minister,Republic of Mauritius.
Dear Sir,
Re: DIEGO GARCIA

We the undersigned, formally request your Government to take the action outlined below. It is a time in history when failure of the Mauritian State to act decisively could cause Mauritius to lose sovereignty over Diego Garcia and the Chagos Archipelago. Indeed time is running out.The Mauritian State is aware that the UK Government illegally dismembered these islands from the rest of Mauritius. At the same time the UK Government cruelly organized mass removals of the inhabitants of the islands and destruction of their entire society, part of Mauritian society.
The reason the UK perpetrated this cruelty was starkly obvious. The USA, its powerful ally, had already planned a military base there.
This base will, in turn, be remembered by future generations for its role as springboard for bombarding civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, and according to the latest information available, in Iran, too. As recently as September 2007, you made it clear to the UN General Assembly in your address that you would be intransigent about Mauritius sovereignty over these islands. Such intransigeance is necessary.
We call on you to take action now on the question of Mauritius' sovereignty. In particular, we call on you:To set in motion procedures for obtaining an ADVISORY OPINION on the issue of Diego Garcia sovereignty before the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague. This will entail the preparation on behalf of the Mauritian State of a formal legal brief by a top international law team, in anticipation of the moment when the ICJ calls for information from the Mauritian State.
We are proposing resorting to an "Advisory Opinion" since the UK has specifically changed its "Declaration" under Article 36(2) so as to bar any so-called "Contentious Case" being put against the UK by the State of Mauritius.
We rely on the political weight of such an ICJ Advisory Opinion, which cannot be underestimated, and which, if well enough prepared politically, may be sufficient to force the UK into negotiations with Mauritius.
In order to set in motion the request for an Advisory Opinion, we propose that procedures for a formal Resolution before the next UN General Assembly be set in motion, at the same time as the preparation of the legal brief. Politically, we propose that you simultaneously begin to work towards building African Union support, through the SADC, for such a UN General Assembly resolution requesting an ICJ Advisory Opinion.This action will serve to complete the decolonization process by the re-unification of the Mauritian State.
It will also expose the dangers for peace of the very existence of the US military base on Diego Garcia, and simultaneously develop support in Mauritius, Africa and the whole world for full reparations.
Yours sincerely,
Cordinated by LALIT (Contact: L. Collen, LALIT, Main Rd, GRNW, P.Louis. Tel 208 2132)
& endorsed by:Cassam Uteem, former President of the Republic
Lindsay Morvan for Commission Justice et Paix
Rajni Lallah, Secretary, Muvman Liberasyon Fam
Kavi Pyneeandy, President, Amnesty (Mauritius Branch)
Tulsiraj Benydin, President, Federation of Civil Service and Other Unions
Auguste Follet for Organisation de l'Unité des Artisans
Jane Ragoo, Secretary, Federation of Progressive Unions
Atma Shanto, President, Federation des Travailleurs Unis
Reaz Chuttoo. President, Federation of Trade Unions of the Chemical Sector
Stellio Cunnassamy, Federation of Trade Unions of the Construction, Metal & Wooden Sector
Subash Ramnath, President, Private Enterprises Employees Union
Charles Ramsamy, Assistant Secretary, Construction, Metal, Wooden and Related Industries Employees Union
Mosadeq Sahebdin, Institute for Consumer Protection
Pushpa Lallah, Secretary, Federation of Pre-School Playgroups
Pynee Chellarpermal, Cedrefi
Cindy Clelie, Assistant Secretary, Ledikasyon pu Travayer
Serge Rayapoulle, President Comité pour l'Amelioration de la Santé
Alain Ah-Vee, LALIT