UN Tribunal says UK has no sovereignty over Chagos Islands

The United Nations International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea has delivered a ruling which states the UK has no sovereignty over the Chagos Islands.

In reaction, the UK government has stated that:

"The UK has no doubt as to our sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), which has been under continuous British sovereignty since 1814. Mauritius has never held sovereignty over the BIOT and the UK does not recognise its claim."

The Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth also spoke out on the ruling, stating that:

“The judgment of the special chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) is clear and unequivocal: Mauritius is sovereign over the Chagos archipelago.”

The latest international court verdict follows an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and a UN General Assembly motion which called for an end of UK control of the Chagos Islands. The latest ruling from International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea was in fact in part of a separate dispute between the Maldives and Mauritius regarding maritime borders.

A UK Chagos Support Association spokesperson said

"The UK and Mauritian statements indicate the new ruling is unlikely to make a practical difference for the people of the Chagos Islands, who continue to live with and suffer the consequences of the brutal deportations of 1960s and 1970s."

"But this is a chance for international attention and the efforts of multiple governments to focus on respecting the rights of Chagossian people, listening to their ambitions and meeting the community's basic needs."

"In the long history of the Chagos Islands, by far the most disgraceful aspect is the treatment of the Chagossian people. There won't be any meaningful solution to this dispute that does not put their rights first."

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