Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth has slammed the UK and US for their mistreatment of the Chagossian people, evicted from their homeland by the British in the 1960s and 1970s so that the US could use it as a military base.
Speaking on Sunday in the Mauritian capital of Port Louis, the PM lamented how the British and Americans acted when they evicted thousands of people from their homeland on the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean.
When we hear the British and Americans talking on the international stage, they teach lessons. They criticize. The English and the Americans are hypocrites.
Mauritius and the Chagos Islands were ceded to Britain in 1814 after the defeat of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. The British government later purchased Chagos from Mauritius in 1965, with Mauritius later saying it was forced to hand over the territory in order to secure independence from the British Empire. The Chagossians were subsequently evicted to provide the US with an unpopulated island for a military base, and sent to live in the UK, Mauritius and the Seychelles.
Jugnauth told the crowd, mainly composed of Chagossians and their descendants, that the UK continues to ignore the 2019 ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which ordered Britain to hand back the Chagos Islands to Mauritius “as rapidly as possible.”
“Despite the advisory opinion in favor of Mauritius, the English still do not respect the judgment, with the complicity of the Americans,” the prime minister added.
He also urged the Chagossians to protect their own identity, as he kicked off the first consultative committee for safeguarding and promoting the sega tambour Chagos – a genre of music indigenous to the Chagos Archipelago.
Despite the judgement of the ICJ and a motion approved by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2019, the UK has shown no signs of changing its stance, calling the ICJ ruling an “advisory opinion, not a judgment.”
In response to the international rulings in 2019, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office 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,” adding that “Mauritius has never held sovereignty over the BIOT and the UK does not recognize its claim.”
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