Addis Ababa, 26 February 2019: The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, welcomes the historic Advisory Opinion issued yesterday by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965. This Advisory Opinion was delivered in response to a resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 22 June 2017, at the initiative of the African Group in New York.

The Chairperson of the Commission would like to highlight three key aspects of the ICJ Advisory Opinion:

i)       the process of decolonization of Mauritius was not lawfully completed when that country acceded to independence in 1968, following the separation of the Chagos Archipelago;

ii)      the United Kingdom is under an obligation to bring to an end its administration of the Chagos Archipelago as rapidly as possible; and

iii)     all Member States are under an obligation to cooperation with the United Nations in order to complete the decolonization of Mauritius, given that the right for self-determination is an obligation erga omnes (that applies towards all) which all states have a legal interest to protect.

The Chairperson of the Commission congratulates the people and Government of Mauritius for this milestone in their efforts to complete the decolonization process of their country. He also expresses the gratitude of the African Union to all the countries both within the continent and outside Africa that voted in favour of the United Nations General Assembly resolution and participated in the proceedings before the ICJ in support of the position of Mauritius and the African Union.

The Chairperson of the Commission reaffirms the African Union determination to pursue and intensity its efforts towards the full decolonization of Mauritius, in line with international law. He urges the United Kingdom to end its administration of the Chagos Archipelago as quickly as possible. He calls on all African Union partners to support these efforts, including by emphasizing the imperative for the scrupulous respect of international legality, as reaffirmed by the ICJ in its Advisory Opinion.

The African Union played a critical political and technical role in the process leading to the Advisory Opinion, building on its longstanding position on the issue of the Chagos Archipelago and relevant decisions of its policy organs. The Chairperson takes this opportunity to commend the African Union Legal Team, made up of the Commission’s Office of the Legal Counsel, as well as African counsels and experts for their work throughout this process.


Posted by SitroomCom

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