Africa 4.9.2018 11:17 am

Mauritius challenges UK over islands ‘stripped during colonial era’

File picture

File picture

The International Court of Justice is expected to decide on whether colonial deals that redrew African borders can be declared illegal or not.

Mauritius is to challenge the United Kingdom before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the Chagos Islands which Port Louis said it was stripped of during the colonial era and now serves as a major US military base.

This week the ICJ will decide if colonial deals that redrew African borders can be declared illegal and if so, if islands taken by the United Kingdom from the nation of Mauritius can be rejoined to it, GIN media reported.

The four-day session will hear representatives from 22 countries in a dispute over the rights of exiled islanders to return.

In 1965 when Britain decided to separate Mauritius from the archipelago, the island had little say over the matter as the only choice was to accept the deal or never obtain independence.

The Mauritian government is arguing that the move breached UN resolution 1514, passed in 1960, which specifically banned the breakup of colonies before independence.

Chagos Islands’ biggest island, Diego Garcia, has served as a military base since 1966 after the entire population of 1 500 people was forced to leave.

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