Emergency motion to Parliament over Maldives-Mauritius issue

Maduvvari MP Adam Shareef Umar. (File Photo/People's Majlis)

An emergency motion has been filed at the Parliament on Monday over Maldives’ change in stance on recognizing Mauritius' sovereignty over Chagos.

Parliamentarian for Maduvvari constituency MP Adam Shareef filed the motion, which was accepted with 54 out of 55 present members voting in favor.

Speaking while submitting the motion, MP Shareef noted that the Constitution dictates that any changes to the Maldivian territory can only be brought under a law that is passed with the approval of two-thirds of the Parliament.

Noting that Maldives has been advocating against the case filed at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) till now, and expressed fears that the decision to recognize Chagos as part of Mauritius may lead to losing part of Maldivian EEZ.

He said that this change of stance on that issue might cause Maldives to close doors on advocating for itself.

In addition to this, he spoke on how the decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to Chagos was recognized as part of Mauritius, and that it needed to be handed back to the country proved to be disadvantageous for Maldives.

He added that this decision was made to inflict irreversible damages on Maldives.

Furthermore, MP Shareef said that as Chagos is considered to be under the UK, there was a slim chance for Mauritius to fight for said area.

“Without any reference to it, the sudden decision of Maldives to change  the policy on recognizing Chagos as part of Mauritius may lead to irreversible damages, and cause to lose 96,000 miles.”

While the debate on this is ongoing, Attorney General’s Office (AGO) has stated that Maldives’ interests were properly defended in accordance with international conventions and legal principles and decisions before the ITLOS.

AGO added that Maldives has always supported decolonization, and that the decision by Maldives to vote in favor of the Chagos decolonization resolution in the UN General Assembly and the ongoing dispute at the ITLOS are two separate issues and that the vote will have no effect on the dispute.

Mauritius lodged the case with the ITLOS under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on August 23, 2019.

Maldives had contested ITLOS’ authority to delimitate the disputed area, but the tribunal decided on January 28, 2021, to hear the case.

Oral proceedings began on October 17.