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To the honorable members of the Mauritius national assembly and the president of the Republic of Mauritius,
Although no official statistics exists pertaining to the number of Mauritians settled abroad, it is estimated that the Mauritian diaspora consists of approximately 300,000 members, which represents almost a quarter of the Mauritian population. Our country has witnessed numerous waves of emigration since independence. A lot of young Mauritians leave and settle in various countries in order to study or work.
Despite this worldwide presence, Mauritian citizens settled abroad, except for diplomatic staff, are deprived of this fundamental right. Members of the Mauritian diaspora undoubtedly love their country and wish to strengthen their ties to the motherland.
Mauritius being one of the most developed countries on the African continent, how can it be that members of the Mauritian diaspora are deprived of their right to vote, whereas nationals of more than 70 countries worldwide, including Botswana, South Africa, Norway, France, Switzerland, Estonia, Austria and Croatia can already take part in their country’s political process? Mauritius has ratified the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political.
Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the distinctions mentioned in article 2 and without unreasonable restrictions:
(a) To take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;
(b) To vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors;
(c) To have access, on general terms of equality, to public service in his country.
The Republic of Mauritius is in clear violation of Article 25.
We therefore ask members of the National Assembly, the Mauritian government and the Head of state to grant this fundamental right to Mauritians living abroad and thereby create an overseas constituency in order to enable them to elect their representatives to Parliament.
During every general election, a maximum of 8 seats are attributed according to the « Best Loser System », which is an electoral mechanism whose purpose is to guarantee minority representability in parliament. The calculation as to who should obtain those seats is based on a Religious and Ethnic census that dates back to 1972. If representability is really a concern, why not try to mitigate it by reallocating some of these seats to members of parliament who will represent Mauritians settled abroad?
It is the state’s duty to strengthen the ties between the country and Mauritian nationals and their children. For Mauritius to achieve economic and cultural progress, every single Mauritian should be given a say and a stake in his or her country’s political affairs.
Long live the Republic of Mauritius!
The group ‘Anou Voté’ consists of Mauritian citizens and Friends of Mauritius and seeks to put forward concrete proposals. For more information, you can also visit our Facebook page.