UK Government statement on Chagos Islands

On the final day before Parliament was dissolved, the UK government has released a new statement on the future of the Chagos Islands. The full statement can be read here.

In May, the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly that the UK should cede control of the Chagos Islands to Mauritius within six months. This came after an International Court of Justice (ICJ) verdict which judged UK sovereignty of the islands was not legally established by international law, due to the manner the islands were 'detached' upon the independence of Mauritius.

That six month UN deadline will expire on 22 November. As Parliament has been dissolved due to the election campaign, this was the final chance for Ministers to issue a statement prior to that date.

There were few surprises in the statement, which outlines that the UK government has no plans to comply with the UN General Assembly and International Court of Justice. As Ministers note in the statement these bodies opinions are "not legally binding."

The statement also adds that the UK "does not recognise" the Mauritian cliam to sovereignty over the islands.

UK Chagos Support Association Vice-Chair Stefan Donnelly states that "it is deeply disappointing that yet another statement about the Chagos Islands has been issued without any single reference to the Chagossian people. They should be the people who decide what is best for the future of the islands."

The UN General Assembly and International Court of Justice pronouncements should have been seen as an opportunity to finally deliver justice for the Chagossian people. Instead, this is another missed opportunity."

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