The Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs and External Communications, Minister for Rodrigues, Outer Islands and Territorial Integrity, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, reiterated Government’s firm will and determination to continue its efforts to fight for Mauritius to exercise its sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago and thus complete decolonisation.
The Head of Government was speaking, this afternoon, at the Commemoration Ceremony, organised by the Chagossian Welfare Fund, at Marie Charlesia Alexis Chagossian Community Centre, in Baie du Tombeau, to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Deportation of the Chagossian Community.
The Vice-President of the Republic of Mauritius, Mr Eddy Boissézon; the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Housing and Land Use Planning, and Minister of Tourism, Mr Steven Obeegadoo; the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun; Ministers; Members of Parliament; and other eminent personalities were also present at the event.
The Commemoration Ceremony featured testimonies by two natives of the Chagossian Community, namely Mr Haris Elysé and Mrs Maudea Saminaden, as well as the video testimony of the Captain of the Nordvaer Ship, Mr Rowly Saminaden; the unveiling of a mural painting of the Nordvaer ship; the launching of a photo exhibition; and the unveiling of a commemorative monument in the yard of the Marie Charlesia Alexis Chagossian Community Centre.
“The deportation of the Chagossian Community is one of the saddest episodes of world history and it is essential that the uprooting and consequent suffering of the Chagossians be remembered,” underpinned the Prime Minister. He seized the opportunity to pay homage to all those deportees and their families, as well as to salute those who stood up against this injustice and fight for the United Kingdom to return the Chagos Archipelago to Mauritius. He cited late Sir Anerood Jugnauth, late Rita Bancoult, late Charlesia Alexis, late Ferdinand Mandarin and Mr. Olivier Bancoult, among others.
In his address, the Prime Minister also underscored that the right for the Chagossian Community to settle on the Archipelago was an integral part of the Government’s fight to achieve decolonisation. For Mr Jugnauth, there would be no compromises, during negotiations with the United Kingdom on the exercise of sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago, over the resettlement of the former inhabitants of the Archipelago.
The Judgment of the Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea last April 2023 was also commented upon by Prime Minister Jugnauth. He underlined the great significance of the Judgment which, he said, constitutes a further recognition of Mauritius as the only State which has sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago.
The Prime Minister recalled that the Budget 2023-2024 provides for Government to work towards the implementation of the resettlement programme in the Chagos Archipelago. To this end, Mr Jugnauth stated that another trip to the Chagos Archipelago would be undertaken to carry out an assessment mission on the requirements for a proper resettlement, following the visit undertaken by a Mauritius delegation to the Chagos Archipelago in February 2022 with the presence of representatives of the Chagossian community.
It is recalled that between 1967 and 1973, some 2,000 Chagossians were forcibly deported from the Chagos Archipelago. The last group of Chagossian deportees reached Mauritius on 13 June 1973 on board the Nordvaer Ship.