Unic Press UK: At its seventy-first session, the United Nations General Assembly voted by a wide margin of 94 in favour to 15 against, with 65 abstentions, supporting a Mauritian-backed ‘Request for an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965’. The UK was responsible for severing the Chagos Islands, an archipelago, from Mauritius.
During the deliberation at the UN, the Mauritius government submitted that the Chagos Archipelago was part of their country, saying that a vote in favour of the draft resolution represents “support of completing the process of decolonization, respect for international law and the rule of law”. The Chagos Archipelago had been part of Mauritius as far back as the 18th century, when the French governed it, the government averred.
The United Kingdom had called for withdrawal of the draft resolution, emphasizing that the UK will not give consent to judicial settlement of a bilateral dispute. The UK offered a framework for the joint management of all its islands save Diego Garcia, where a military base is located.
Excerpts of the UN General Assembly position as contained in its resolution A/71/L.73 of Thursday, the 22nd June 2017, reads:
“The General Assembly, Reaffirming that all peoples have an inalienable right to the exercise of their sovereignty and the integrity of their national territory,
“Recalling the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, contained in its resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960, and in particular paragraph 6 thereof, which states that any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and the territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,
“Recalling also its resolution 2066 (XX) of 16 December 1965, in which it invited the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to take effective measures with a view to the immediate and full implementation of resolution 1514 (XV) and to take no action which would dismember the Territory of Mauritius and violate its territorial integrity, and its resolutions 2232 (XXI) of 20 December 1966 and 2357 (XXII) of 19 December 1967…
“Decides, in accordance with Article 96 of the Charter of the United Nations, to request the International Court of Justice, pursuant to Article 65 of the Statute of the Court, to render an advisory opinion on the following questions:
(a) “Was the process of decolonization of Mauritius lawfully completed when Mauritius was granted independence in 1968, following the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius and having regard to international law, including obligations reflected in General Assembly resolutions 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960, 2066 (XX) of 16 December 1965, 2232 (XXI) of 20 December 1966 and 2357 (XXII) of 19 December 1967?”;
(b) “What are the consequences under international law, including obligations reflected in the above-mentioned resolutions, arising from the continued administration by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of the Chagos Archipelago, including with respect to the inability of Mauritius to implement a programme for the resettlement on the Chagos Archipelago of its nationals, in particular those of Chagossian origin?.“