Explanation of Vote on the General Assembly Resolution “Advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965”
New York, 22 May 2019
Thank you Madam President,
I am taking the floor to provide an explanation of our vote before the Vote, on the draft resolution as contained in document A/73/L.84 entitled
“Advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965”
The Maldives has always supported all processes concerning decolonization of territories within the United Nations. It will not deny any peoples their right to self-determination. As a responsible member of the United Nations, we strongly abide by the principles of the UN Charter, and express our support for a rules-based international order. The Maldives record in the General Assembly would reflect this fact.
The Maldives also supports and accepts the jurisdiction and role of the International Court of Justice to settle disputes and to give advisory opinions on important legal questions referred to it by the bodies of the United Nations. We strongly believe that the acceptance of the role of the ICJ is paramount, in solidifying the supremacy of international law in a rules-based system, and in the peaceful settlement of international disputes.
However, a decision made by any international body that does not reflect the genuine interests of the states concerned cannot amount to an effective and long-lasting solution. Indeed, the Maldives has always believed that the issue of the Chagos Archipelago would best be addressed through dialogue between the states concerned.
The resolution before us today will have serious implications for the Maldives. While we fully respect the advisory opinion of the ICJ on this matter, the resolution before us, prejudges the implications on the submission by the Maldives to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, which was done in July 2010. Without due process and clarity on the legal implications of a contested matter, Maldives is not in a position to support the resolution solely as a matter of ‘decolonization’. For the Maldives, any uncertainty concerning the issue of the Chagos Archipelago will have serious implications for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and to the wider security of the Indian Ocean region.
It is for these reasons, the Maldives will vote NO on the resolution. However we would like to reiterate that our vote should not be construed as a vote or a position taken against the co-sponsors of the resolution, with whom we have excellent relations.
Thank you Madam President.