November 15, 2018

India position on “The Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965”

On the picture Ambassador Venu Rajamony  during India Independence Day’s celebrations.

“The Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965” India’s position before the International Court of Justice, The Hague today.

 

Oral Proceedings on the Request for an Advisory Opinion by the United Nations General Assembly.

India today told the International Court of Justice that analysis of historical facts and consideration of the legal aspects associated therewith conform that sovereignty of the Chagos Archipelago has been and continues to be with Mauritius.

Presenting the position of India in the Oral Proceedings before the ICJ on the Request for an Advisory Opinion by the United Nations General Assembly in the matter concerning “The Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965, ” India’s Ambassador Venu Rajamony said the historical survey of facts concerning colonization and the process of decolonization indicates that the Chagos Archipelago throughout the pre- and post-colonial era has been part of the Mauritian territory.

These islands came under the colonial administration of the United Kingdom as part of Mauritian territory. The understanding reached in November 1965 between Mauritius and the United Kingdom for the retention of Chagos by the United Kingdom for defence purposes and return thereof to Mauritius when no longer needed for defence purposes, is also in itself evidence that Mauritius has been and continues to be the sovereign nation for the Chagos Archipelago.

Thus, the historical aspects of the matter in question do clearly establish the Chagos Archipelago being part of the Mauritian territory to the exclusion of the sovereignty of any other State.

Ambassador Venu Rajamony said the legal aspects should root themselves in the historical facts, behaviour of the nations concerned, and the consideration of the issue by relevant administrative and judicial institutions.

The United Nations is the highest and most relevant institution in matters affecting nations and the international courts and tribunals are the most relevant judicial institutions. Before the independence of Mauritius, the United Nations, in December 1960, recognizing the ardent desire of the peoples of the world to end colonialism; believing in the need of ending all practices of segregation and discrimination associated with the colonialism; convinced of the right of all peoples to full freedom and of the integrity of their national territory, solemnly proclaimed the necessity of a speedy and unconditional end of colonialism in all its forms and manifestations in General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV). This resolution declared any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and the territorial integrity of a country, as incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

However, detachment of the Chagos Archipelago still took place in November 1965. The United Nations reacted in December 1965 to the detachment of the Chagos Archipelago by adopting resolution 2066 (XX) entitled “Question of Mauritius”, calling on the United Kingdom to fully implement Resolution 1514 (XV). The resolution obligated the United Kingdom to complete the decolonization of Mauritius and report the same to the General Assembly.

The Arbitral Tribunal constituted by agreement between Mauritius and UK in its Award dated 18 March 2015, ruled that the undertakings of the United Kingdom with respect to: the fishing rights of Mauritius in the waters of Chagos Archipelago; the eventual return of the Archipelago to Mauritius and; the benefit of mineral and oil resources in and near the Archipelago, are legally binding undertakings. Further, by declaring as legally binding the undertaking of the United Kingdom to return the Archipelago to Mauritius, the Award has determined the legal obligation of the United Kingdom to return the Archipelago to Mauritius.

Ambassador Venu Rajamony said the process of decolonization of Mauritius remains incomplete both technically and in substance as long as the Chagos Archipelago continues to be under colonial control.

 

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