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UN court rules UK should leave Chagos

Demonstrator demanding her return to the Chagos archipelago protesting outside the Parliament in London
Demonstrator demanding her return to the Chagos archipelago protesting outside the Parliament in London Reuters/Andrew Winning

The International Court of Justice in The Hague found that the decolonisation of Mauritius by the United Kingdom was not lawfully completed and that the UK is under obligation to bring to an end its administration of the Chagos archipelago.

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ICJ President Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf read the advisory opinion of the court.

Its conclusions were that, "as a result, of the Chagos archipelago unlawful detachment and its incorporation into a new colony know as the BIOT [British Indian Ocean Territory], the process of decolonisation of Mauritius was not lawfully completed when Mauritius acceded to independence in 1968."

The Court further added that "the United Kingdom is under obligation to bring an end to its administration of the Chagos archipelago as rapidly as possible.

All member states must cooperate with the United Nations to complete the decolonisation of Mauritius."

Jugdish Koonjul, the Permanent Representative of Mauritius to the UN told RFI that this was not "a battle opposing Mauritius and the UK".

"Mauritius and the United Kingdom enjoy excellent relations. Even at the time when this matter was being discussed at the [UN] General Assembly and when the resolution was being adopted, we made it clear that there is nothing hostile between Mauritius and the UK. We wanted to get legal advice on an issue where the two countries did not appear to see eye to eye."

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