Chagos Islands: Britain an 'illegal colonial occupier' after failing to hand back control

  22 November 2019    Read: 824
Chagos Islands: Britain an

The Foreign Office does not recognise Mauritius' claim to sovereignty over the islands, one of which is home to a US airbase.

Britain has been accused of acting like an illegal colonial occupier for refusing to hand back control of a remote set of islands in the Indian Ocean.

The Chagos Islands were due to be given back to Mauritius by Friday following an overwhelming vote at the UN General Assembly in May.

The Foreign Office says it does not recognise Mauritius' claim to sovereignty over the archipelago, located 310 miles (500km) from the Maldives, which used to be a British colony.

It insists it has every right to hold onto the islands - one of which, Diego Garcia, is home to a US military airbase.

In order to build the base, Britain expelled thousands of Chagossians from their homelands between 1968 and 1974.

They were sent more than 1,000 miles away to Mauritius and Seychelles, where they faced extreme poverty and discrimination.

The Chagos Archipelago was separated from Mauritius in 1965, when Mauritius was still a British colony. Britain purchased it for £3m - creating the British Indian Ocean Territory.

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