Mauritius PM calls for end to "illegal occupation" of Chagos Islands
In last week's UN General Assembly the Mauritian Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth criticised what he branded the "illegal occupation" (linked article in French) of the Chagos Islands by the UK.
In his speech he also offered support for the Chagossian people's campaign to win the right to return to their homeland. Sir Anerood stated that the Government he leads is "fully sensitive to Chagossians' plight and their legitimate aspirations, as Mauritian citizens, to resettle in the archipelago." Sir Anerood Jugnauth's full speech, which references the Chagos Islands in considerable detail, can be downloaded here.
The battle for sovereignty over the Chagos Islands has been as long and protracted as the campaign for Chagossian right to return. It stems too from the decision to 'detach' the Chagos Islands from Mauritius when Mauritius was given independence from the UK in the mid-1960s, creating a new UK Overseas Territory called the British Indian Ocean Territory, comprised of the Chagos Islands.
The UK Government has stated repeatedly in recent years that there is "no question" over the sovereignty of the islands. There is though a long-standing commitment to return the Chagos Islands to Mauritian sovereignty when they are “no longer required for defence purposes.”
Our interest is simply in supporting the right of the Chagossian people to decide their future. In turn Chagossians and their wishes must be central in deciding the future status of their homeland. The UK, Mauritius, the US and indeed the UN itself must work together urgently to end half a century of unjust and necessary exile now.