The Mauritius Contact Group on Piracy Off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) has condemned the premature releases of convicted pirates by Puntland and Somaliland.

The following statement was issued today by the Mauritius Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Contact Group on Piracy Off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), strongly condemns the premature releases of convicted pirates by Puntland and Somaliland authorities.  This statement was made by the Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, and Chair of the CGPCS, Mr Nandcoomar Bodha, following a meeting on piracy in the region, held this afternoon in Port-Louis, with ambassadors based in Mauritius.

In a statement after the meeting, the Minister highlighted that the premature release of convicted pirates compromises the extensive collective efforts of the international community to combat and suppress piracy off the coast of Somalia.

Furthermore, Mr Bodha spoke about the premature release of the 19 convicted pirates by Somaliland authorities in 2019 as well as that of a convicted Somali pirate by prison authorities in Puntland in 2018.  This, he cautioned, significantly jeopardises regional and international efforts to combat piracy and erodes the mechanisms that have been put in place to combat the scourge of piracy and other forms of illicit crimes. The Minister also underscored the critical role of arrest, prosecution and imprisonment which all help to deter potential criminals from committing acts of piracy.

According to him, the international community and States in the region have put in much efforts to ensure that acts of piracy are not left unpunished following the UN Resolution 1851, in the wake of lawlessness off the Coast of Somalia.  He thus emphasised on the need for the international community to help combat and deter piracy off the coast of Somalia in order to guarantee the safety and security of the Western Indian Ocean region.

Moreover, Minister Bodha underlined that the Chair of the CGPCS has taken initiatives to bring the matter to the attention of the Secretary-General of the UN and the UN Security Council to make proposals to prevent a resurgence of attempts of premature release of convicted pirates. Following the relentless efforts and collective engagement of the CGPCS and ambassadors, the possible release of 30 prisoners by Puntland authorities, has been nullified, he pointed out.

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