Explain the Chagos Islands dispute giving reference to the International Court of Justice viewpoint on same.

Published: May 29, 2019

The Chagos Islands are home to the U.S. military base of Diego Garcia. Britain detached the Chagos Islands from Mauritius in 1965. From 1967 to 1973, some 1,500 Chagos islanders were gradually forced to leave their homes so that�the largest island, Diego Garcia, could be leased to the US for a strategic airbase.
Recent issue over Chagos Islands:

  • In 2016, Britain extended Diego Garcia�s lease until 2036.
  • In 2017, Mauritius successfully petitioned the United Nations to seek an ICJ advisory opinion.
  • Mauritius claims that it was forced to give up the islands in 1965 in exchange for independence.
  • Mauritius argues it was illegal for Britain to break up its territory.
  • Mauritius claims sovereignty over the archipelago and demands the right to resettle former residents.
  • The Mauritian government claimed that the separation of the islands from Mauritius was in clear breach of UN resolution 1514 which grant the right of self-determination for colonial peoples.

International Court of Justice�s viewpoint:
The United Nation General Assembly has passed�a non-binding resolution�asking United Kingdom to return Chagos Archipelago in Indian Ocean to Mauritius. India was among 116 nations to vote in favour of UN General Assembly resolution. The resolution has also welcomed the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice. The resolution demanded that the UK should withdraw its colonial administration from the Chagos Archipelago unconditionally within six months.ICJ also suggest that UK should end its control of the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean as rapidly as possible.

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