British Indian Ocean Territory: Sovereignty

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 6th June 2019.

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Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady SNP Chief Whip

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will publish a response to EDM 2425 entitled UN Condemnation of UK occupation of the Chagos Islands.

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State

As set out in Written Ministerial Statement - HCWS1528 of 30 April and in the statement by the UK Permanent Representative at UNGA on 23 May, we were disappointed that this matter was referred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and UN General Assembly. An Advisory Opinion of the ICJ is advice provided to the United Nations General Assembly at its request; it is not a legally binding judgment. The Government has considered the content of the Opinion carefully, but we do not share the Court's approach. The basic principle that the ICJ should not consider bilateral sovereignty disputes without the consent of both states concerned has been circumvented and this could have wide-reaching implications for all UN member states.

With regard to Chagossians we are continuing our work to design a support package worth approximately £40m, to improve Chagossian livelihoods in the communities in Mauritius, the Seychelles and the UK where they now live.

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