In the latest dispute about the Chagos island, the UN has passed a resolution which demands the UK to return the control of the Chagos island to the Indian Ocean island nation, Mauritius. The incident is a result of UN’s high court advice to the UK, that it should leave the islands “as rapidly as possible”.
The General Assembly in New York cast a non-binding vote, in which 116 states were in favour of the resolution, whereas only six were against, these included Australia, Hungary, Israel, Maldives along with the UK. It was reported that fifty states abstained, these included Germany and France.
The ocean nation stated that in 1965 it was forced to give up the Indian Ocean group in exchange for independence. The Indian Ocean group is now a territory of British Overseas. Britain had taken control of the Chagos Archipelago in 1965 from Mauritius for £3m. This region was known as British Indian Ocean Territory.
In the wake of the situation, UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) claimed that they would hand over control of the islands to Mauritius when UK government was no longer required for defence purposes. Furthermore FCO also stated that it did not recognize Mauritius’ claim to sovereignty.
Reports also suggest that the islands were evicted of its entire population between 1967 and 1973 to make way for a military base of the US and the UK. Allegedly the US planes to bomb Afghanistan and Iraq were sent from the joint military base of Diego Garcia.
In a statement, Mauritian Prime Minister Pravid Kumar Jug-Nauth told the General Assembly that the forcible eviction was comparable to “crime against humanity.” Furthermore, he however also stated that “Mauritius would allow the military base to continue operating in accordance with international law, if it were given control of the islands.”
On the other hand, the UN maintained that Mauritius gave up the territory in return of benefits.