International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague rules that United Kingdom must transfer Chagos Islands (Diego Garcia) to Mauritius
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ruled that the United Kingdom must transfer the Chagos Islands (Diego Garcia) to Mauritius as they were not legally separated from the latter in 1965. It has ruled that continued British occupation of the remote Indian Ocean archipelago is illegal. In a non-binding opinion issued on 25th Feb 2019, the ICJ ruling deals a humiliating blow to the legitimacy of Britain’s territorial claim over the Chagos islands, which they call the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). The ruling is not legally binding. It must be noted that UK retained possession of the Chagos archipelago, which includes the strategic US airbase of Diego Garcia, after Mauritius gained its independence in 1968 & effectively paying Mauritius more than £4m for the islands. About 1,500 native islanders were deported so the largest island could be leased to the US for the airbase in 1971. They have never been allowed to return home.
Topics: British Indian Ocean Territory • Chagos Archipelago • Chagos Archipelago sovereignty dispute • Diego Garcia • Expulsion of the Chagossians • Geography of the British Indian Ocean Territory • Islands • Landforms • Mauritius • Oceans