Parliament debates emergency motion on Chagos Islands dispute

The Parliament of the Maldives has begun debating an emergency motion on the dispute against Mauritius at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) regarding the Chagos Islands, located south of the Maldives.

Parliamentarian of the opposition People’s National Congress (PNC) Adam Shareef proposed the emergency motion to call on the government to explain why it had changed its policy on such issues, claiming that the Maldives would lose 96,000sqkm of its territorial waters if it lost the dispute with Mauritius.

The Majority Leader of Parliament Mohamed Aslam said no government would give up any of the country’s territory, whether land or sea, especially not the current administration. He said the issue stems from misinformation and that no government had ever attempted to gain control of the Chagos Islands.

Parliamentarian Rozaina Adam also expressed concern over the amount of misinformation being spread over the dispute and said that the southern maritime boundary of the Maldives is currently undefined. She said the administration is working to set the maritime boundary in accordance with the agreed-upon conditions set by the United Nations (UN).

During the debate, many parliamentarians endorsed forming a committee with representatives from all political parties to review the motion. Additionally, some parliamentarians called on the government to provide more information on the dispute while others stated that the government had provided all relevant information but that misinformation is confusing the issue. The Parliament will be debating the motion until all parliamentarians who wish to speak have voiced their concerns.