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LALIT March Delivers Protest Letter to British High Commission

08.04.2010


Here is the content of the letter of protest to the British Government. The march (see article on this page) organized by LALIT in order to protest took place yesterday, 7 April.

7 Avril, 2010.
Dr. John Murton
British High Commissioner
Port Louis.

Dear Sir,

The British Government, as you are aware, acted cruelly in the build-up to Mauritian Independence when, flauting the UN Charter and international law, it illegally divided the country up and kept some of it, and, with genocidal determination, proceeded to forcibly remove the people from the Islands of Chagos. It did this first by tricking them off, then by starving them off, and finally even by getting their dogs gassed in front of them as a warning. A brand-new figment of a colony was then set up and named British Indian Ocean Territory. At the time the BIOT, as you know, contained some islands confiscated illegally from Seychelles as well, though these have subseuqently been won back by their rightful custodians. And the displaced Chagossians were at the time simply dumped, as you are also aware, mainly on the dockside of the port city of the main island of Mauritius, but also on the dockside of the port city of the main island of Seychelles.

Not a pretty history.

Why? Such actions must have reasons. All this was done, as you are aware, so as to make way for Britain's retreat from its crumbling empire while at the same time furnishing its Big Brother's empire with the stolen Islands, that is to say by leasing the strategic land and sea of Chagos that Britain had acquired from the illegal excision and expulsions to the USA which thus acts as receiver. In turn, we ask why? So that the USA could build a huge and, as it turns out, polluting military base on Diego Garcia. The pretexts for this Base were always tendentious and have a habit of being fickle. To begin with, of course, Prime Minister Harold Wilson said it was "just a communications station". Then the base began to be useful for "protecting the route for US raw materials, especially oil." The base was for some years needed, it was claimed, in the Cold War against the "communists", until that pretext eventually evaporated. Then after 9/11, it was supposedly essential for that vaguest of wars, the "War on Terror". It was in fact used not only for bombarding civilians, but also for the hallmark of the "War on Terror": illegal renditions for torture were carried out there, as your Minister of Foreign Affairs has finally conceded in the British Parliament. And it is of course pirates off the coast of Somalia that will soon shine as the new "threat".

But just as your empire was crumbling when the initial land theft was accomplished, so now today the USA's empire is heading for that point. Its financial institutions have collapsed and are now merely propped up by public funds. It is in military over-reach in Iraq and Afghanistan. The legitimacy and even legality of these wars is in question. Just as the legitimacy and legality of Britain's actions 40-50 years ago have been exposed and put into question in the British Courts, and will be analyzed in the European Court of Human Rights soon.

For the British Government and the BIOT Colony now to have come and "decreed" a Marine Protected Area on a bit of Mother Earth that it illegally occupies, and which houses in its midst, a polluting nuclear base, is quite simply outrageous. It is a brand new conspiracy to match that of the 1960s and 1970s so vividly described publicly in all the UK Court judgements since 2000. How can you decree a Marine Protected Area in other peoples' country? The land is Mauritian. The inhabitants are the Chagossians. It is unethical to decree a Marine Protected Area over other peoples' land and water. British Foreign Secretary David Milliband's words of "assurance" as to both Mauritian sovereignty and the right of return for Chagossians, at the very moment that he was ordering the BIOT Commissioner to issue a Decree, are just not good enough.

We are marching on the British High Commission in Port Louis, therefore, in protest.

We are aware that the Mauritian Government on 2 April issued you with a Note Verbale, has recalled the Mauritian High Commissioner in the UK for consultations, and will register a protest with the Secretary General of the United Nations.

But, our march goes further. It marks a new phase in the struggle. The US military empire is in over-reach. The Pelindaba Treaty for a Nuclear Arms Free Africa is now in force. Diego Garcia is part of Mauritius, Mauritius is part of Africa, so the military base is illegal.

The aim of this new phase of struggle is to complete the process of Mauritian de-colonization by getting the British State to leave Chagos altogether. We, the people of Mauritius including Mauritians from Chagos, do not want our land to be used as a springboard for B-52's and other bombers to bombard cities in Iraq or village wedding parties in Afghanistan or anywhere else ever again. We, together with the people of Britain and the US, will get this base closed down. Supported by the anti-war movement, by the enlightened sections of the environmentalist movement, supported by the women's movement worldwide, we will proceed into this new phase of the struggle. We also insist that, when the base is closed down that the US government effect an environmental clean-up. We will, through this struggle, ensure the right of return in full dignity as Mauritians for all Chagossians. We will get the shameful colony called BIOT closed down. The struggles have been long. Many of them have been led by women. All have been organized by the poor and oppressed of Mauritius and Chagos. These struggles will continue into this new phase.

Please could you kindly inform your Government of our protest.

Yours sincerely,

Alain Ah-Vee
for LALIT