[Coral-List] Chagos MPA contravened UN Convention of the Law of the Sea

Richard Dunne RichardPDunne at aol.com
Fri Mar 20 12:48:40 EDT 2015


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.


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.

Richard Dunne

This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.

More information about the Coral-List mailing list