UN General Assembly demands UK ends occupation of last African colony
The British Indian Ocean Territories is a general and sweeping term. A term which includes the Chagos Islands, in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa, someway between Tanzania, Oman and India.
The Chagos Islands and in particular Diego Garcia formed part of Mauritius until the UK purchased the island form Mauritius in 1965.
The UK almost immediately expelled 100% of the native inhabitants deporting them to the UK, Mauritius and the Seychelles. Their pets were gassed to death and their homes and belongings confiscated in the name of the crown.
The UK soon leased the island to the US and transformed it into a US military base for launching operations against the Middle-East.
In 2010 the UK declared an area the size of France a Protected Marine Reserve. This means that other than US military no ships, inhabitants, planes or personal are allowed into the region the size of one of Europe’s largest countries.
The thousands of inhabitants forcibly removed in 1965, will never be allowed to return home. Their campaigns to do so have made it to the UN, International Courts and to an audience with the Pope.
In February 2019 the International court of Justice ruled that the 1965 annexation of the Chagos Archipelago including Diego Garcia was unlawful.
The ruling highlighted the lack of freewill or choice in relocation and the loss of property, belongings and animal and human life.
In May 2019, the UN General Assembly voted in a 116 to 6 vote landslide victory for the Chagos Islands that the occupation remains illegal and gave the UK just 6 month to withdraw entirely.
The only nations who voted in favour of the UK were: USA, Israel, Australia, Hungary, Maldives and the UK.
The UK immediately refused to comply.
The UK argues that it can not surrender the islands for “security reasons” and “military assets in the Middle-East”.
The US has launched offensives against nations such as Afghanistan from the islands in recent years.
Mauritius in light of the ruling has redrawn its national maps to re-include the Chagos Islands and has issued new postage stamps and a relocation fund to assist its citizens return to their homes.
Although for the 9’000 proposed relocations back to the islands, a key struggle is that the closest hospitals and schools are some 1’100 miles away after the British and Americans demolished most of the native buildings in their transformation of the islands into the massive military compound found there today.
With all but for 6 nations of the world now recognising the Chagos Islands as Mauritius the region has a greater recognition than any other disputed region in the world, even those we may consider well established nations or regions.
Since you’re here …
… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading Al-Sahawat Times than ever but advertising revenues across the global media industry are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a total paywall. We want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. Al-Sahawat Times’ independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe truly ethical media and an unbias perspective really matters.
“I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information.”
If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps fund it, the future of ethical media and the futures of our staff and their families would be much more secure. For as little as £1, you can support Al-Sahawat Times and it only takes a minute. Thank you.
This story is available on:
Talk to a journalist
Follow Al-Sahawat Times
⬆️ Follow on Instagram
⬆️ Follow on Twitter
⬆️ Follow on LinkedIn
⬆️ Follow on Facebook
⬆️ Follow on YouTube
Read it on FLIPBOARD