Port Louis, Mauritius, October 9, 2019//-Britain is under international pressure to return the Chagos Islands to mainland Mauritius.
The former coloniser has disregarded international judgments by retaining control of the island whose occupants it evicted between 1967 and 1973 to allow the United States to build a military base on Diego Garcia, the largest of the Chagos Islands.
An estimated 2 000 indigenous Mauritian citizens were forcefully removed.
The International Court of Justice (ICC) and United Nations (UN) has ruled in favour of Mauritius reclaiming the territory that consists of more than 3 000 people.
The pronouncements were made last February and in May this year respectively.
UN’s General Assembly voted in favour of a six-month deadline for the UK to withdraw from the archipelago, which would then be reunified with Mauritius.
Pope Francis, during his recent visit to Mauritius, also heightened calls for Britain to cede Chagos Islands in compliance with international laws.
“When we recognise international organisations, such as the ICC in The Hague or the UN, and give them the capacity to judge internationally, when they speak, if we are humanity, we must obey,” Pope Francis said.
“It is true that not all things that are right for humanity are also right for our pockets, but international institutions must be obeyed,” Pope Francis queried the violations of rule of law pronouncement.
In an interview with CAJ News Africa in Port Louis, Mauritius, local rights activist, Adel Louis, said the increasing population of the island required the government to reclaim Chagos Islands.
“Mauritius is dwindling resources and opportunities. We cannot afford to ignore our stolen island in the hands of invading foreign forces that willy-nilly defy international law on human rights and democracy,” Louis told CAJ News in Port Louis.
He appealed to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and the African Union (AU) to demand justice.
“We can’t pretend all is well when foreign forces illegally occupy our land,” Louis said.
Fellow activist, Villeneuve Hansley, alleged foreign companies investing in Mauritius were privatising beaches and lagoons at the expense of locals.
“These foreign investors are taking cue from human rights violators Britain and the US, who continue to defy the rule of law by refusing to hand back our island (Chagos Islands),” Hansley said.