[Coral-List] Chagos MPA contravened UN Convention of the Law of the Sea
RichardPDunne at aol.com
Fri Mar 20 12:48:40 EDT 2015
MAURITIUS V UNITED KINGDOM: THE CHAGOS MARINE PROTECTED AREA ARBITRATION
An International Tribunal delivered its verdict on the Chagos MPA on
Wednesday this week. In a judgment which is binding on the United
Kingdom it decided that the Chagos MPA was unlawful because it violates
the rights of Mauritius.
The Tribunal found unanimously that, as a result of undertakings given
by the United Kingdom in 1965 and repeated thereafter, Mauritius holds
legally binding rights to fish in the waters surrounding the Chagos
Archipelago, to the eventual return of the islands to Mauritius when no
longer needed for defence purposes, and to the preservation of the
benefit of any minerals or oil discovered in or near the islands pending
its eventual return.
The Tribunal held that in declaring the MPA, the UK failed to give due
regard to these rights and declared that it had breached its obligations
under the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea, the international
agreement that determines what States are permitted to do in the ocean.
To date there has been just one report of this in the British Press -
For full details of the Tribunal's decision see:
Far from being a set-back to marine conservation we should regard the
decision as a victory for common sense. The UK came in for extensive
criticism with the way it had implemented the MPA. Conservation in the
Chagos is not at an end, indeed it is at a beginning, but one where the
UK will now have to take account of the rights of Mauritius (and
Chagossians) and learn to discuss future implementation with the key
stakeholders rather than just with conservation organisations like Pew
and the Chagos Conservation Trust.
UK SUPREME COURT
Meanwhile the Chagos saga continues in the UK Courts. This summer the UK
Supreme Court will hear two challenges, one to the right of abode for
Chagossians and the second a continuation of the challenge to the MPA.
The first involves a horde of documents that the British Foreign Office
secretly hid from Chagossian lawyers over a period of 7 years - denying
that they existed.
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