Nasheed: Historical evidence backs Maldives’ claim over Peros Banhos

The Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed (Photo/People's Majlis)

There are multiple historical and cultural evidence to back Maldives’ claim over Peros Banhos – an atoll in the Chagos archipelago known to the Maldivian people as ‘Foalhavahi’, says Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed.

In a social media post on Tuesday, Nasheed said Foalhavahi does not currently belong to any country and is looked after by the British.

“There’s no basis for the assertion Foalhavahi isn’t part of Maldives,” he said.

In the post, he also said that Foalhavahi was a prosperous atoll a long time ago and in maps that were drawn of the Maldives in the 1500s, the atoll to the south of Addu atoll was Foalhavahi.

In a letter written by the Sultan Hassan IX in 1560, he claimed that the seven islands of Foalhavahi are a part of the Maldives.

During the debate on an emergency motion in the Parliament sitting held on Monday, he called on the government against changing its policy and stand in a way that will result in the loss of a big part of Maldives’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

He also stated that there was an agreement to discuss the issue of the UK proclaiming the Chagos Archipelago and the area surrounding it between Maldives and Mauritius as a Marine Protected Area as there was a dispute about it back in 2011 and that there was an agreement regarding the situation and the EEZ of both island nations.

“When the agreement was not put into action by 2019, Mauritius has taken legal action against both Maldives and the UK and presented the issue to court,” Nasheed said.

He claims that the government of the Maldives accepting the sovereign power of Mauritius over the Chagos Islands is agreeing to relinquish the claim part of our maritime border.

In the midst of the discourse over the Chagos issue, it is also being heavily debated in the Parliament.

The Attorney General’s office has claimed that as per the international conventions and legal policies regarding this issue, the best interests of the Maldives regarding the aforementioned issue have been defended in the Tribunal.

The office has also stated that in the verdict reached in 2019 concerning Mauritius’ claim of sovereign power over the Chagos Islands, the UK was told to hand over the Chagos Islands to Mauritius.

the Attorney General's office emphasised that the issue surrounding the UN general assembly voting procedures and the ongoing issue of finalising Maldives' border by the tribunal are separate issues.

The Attorney General's office further elaborated that Maldives voting in favour of Mauritius in the UN general assembly does not mean that Maldives has changed their stand regarding the ongoing hearings in the tribunal against Mauritius.