A group that represents Chagossian natives and descendants named 'Chagossian Voices' says it does not accept the Mauritian claim of sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago.
In a letter addressed to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the group said that the Chagossians are the 'belongers' to the Chagos Islands and the indigenous inhabitants of the territory.
It said that as such, the forcibly exiled Chagossians and their descendants have an inalienable right to decide the soverignty of their territory. The letter said that Mauritius's only relationship with the Chagos islands was colonial when the islands (2,000 km from Mauritius) were administered from Port Louis under British Colonial rule.
The letter to the Tribunal further read that as Chagossians they do not consider themselves Mauritian. It said that Chagossians have their own language, and culture and had a living relationship with the islands and oceans around them for more than 200 years.
The group highlighted that the question put to the International Court of Justice at the Hague by the Government of Mauritius back in 2019 only dealt with the Mauritian right to self-determination and avoided the Central issue of Chagossian self-determination completely.
It mentioned that Chagossian identity was erased in the question to the court by referring to Chagossians as 'Mauritians of Chagossian origin'. It also said that Chagossians were not represented at the Court and had no say in their own right, separate from any national government.
The letter talked about the dispute concerning the delimitation of the maritime boundary between Mauritius and the Maldives in the Indian and said that they do not accept the Mauritian claim of sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago.
The letter added that the group, therefore, reject the legitimacy of this hearing at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.
It said that since they regard the question to the ICJ and the judgement to be illigitamete, the group cannot accept this hearing at the Tribunal has any validity whatsoever.
The group demanded a rehearing of the case at the International Court of the Hague, in answer to a question posed by the Chagossian community and with proper presentation of Chagossians.