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Iran Press TV

UK condemned by international community over Chagos Islands

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 23 November 2019 12:04 PM

The island nation of Mauritius has hit out at the UK's decision not to return the occupied Chagos Islands.

Blasting the UK's disrespect for United National resolutions, the Mauritian Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth, branded Britain as an "illegal colonial occupier".

Back in May, the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Chagos Islands' return to Mauritius.

The UN resolution – which was backed by 116 member states – called on Britain to return the Chagos Islands to Mauritius within six months.

The near-unanimous resolution came on the heels of the UN's high court's "advice" to the UK to end its control of the Chagos Islands "as rapidly as possible".

Mauritius, which was a British colony until 1968, claims it was forced to trade the Chagos Islands in exchange for independence.

The UK bought the islands for £3 million in 1965 and officially refers to the archipelago as the British Indian Ocean Territory.

Between 1968 and 1974, the UK forcibly evicted thousands of Chagossians from their homeland and exiled them to Mauritius and the Seychelles, where they faced extreme poverty and discrimination.

The UK even handed one of the islands – Diego Garcia – over to the US, which then fully militarized it by developing a base there.

Over the decades Diego Garcia has been repeatedly used by the UK and US to conduct long-range bombing operations over a variety of combat theatres, notably Iraq and Afghanistan.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) even used Diego Garcia to render terrorism suspects, where they would be tortured at local "black site" or secret prisons.

Britain's decision to ignore a UN deadline has been met by widespread condemnation from the international community.

The African Union called for a "complete decolonization" of the islands and expressed "deep concern" for the missed deadline.

Mark Curtis, who is a British historian and journalist, claimed the UK was acting like a "rogue state" by ignoring UN resolutions.

Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has said it is "important" to return the islands "as a symbol of the way in which we wish to behave in international law".

Furthermore, in a sign that the British establishment may be fearful of the consequences, the BBC's Southern Africa correspondent, Andrew Harding, claims that sanctions may be imposed on Britain following the refusal to heed the UN's demands.

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