ICJ begins hearing Mauritius claim that Britain forced territory exchange for independence
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ICJ begins hearing Mauritius claim that Britain forced territory exchange for independence

The government of the island nation of Mauritius presented its claim Monday to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] that the British government forced the transfer of the Chagos Islands [BBC report]as a condition of independence in the 1960s.

The UK leased the Diego Garcia island within the Chagos Archipelago to the US in 1966, which was used to build a military base [official website] “that required the forced removal of around 1,500 people” [Al Jazeera report]. The population has yet to be allowed to return home.

The former prime minister of Mauritius told [Sky report] the ICJ, “[t]he choice we were faced with was no choice at all: it was independence with detachment (of the Chagos archipelago) or no independence with detachment anyway.”

The location in the Indian Ocean close to the Persian Gulf is seen as a geopolitically significant location. In 2016 the US lease for the base was extended until 2036.