In the words of the renowned legal luminary and pan-African activist, Professor Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba, 'Colonialism is alive and well.'
Political commentators have argued that the continuous hold and illegal occupation of Chagos Island by Britain is a sad attestation to this fact.
On November 22, 2019, the deadline was given to the United Kingdom by the United Nations to hand over Chagos Islands back to the African nation of Mauritius passed. Britain defiled the resolution of the United Nations and continues to occupy the Island illegally, as it has done since 1965.
Six months ago, the United Nations Assembly voted in favour of the reunification and set a November 22, 2019 deadline for the United Kingdom to vacate and hand over the Island. But the former colonial masters have refused to follow through the resolution.
Surprisingly, this is not the first time the United Kingdom will defile a ruling on the matter. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has earlier ruled for the Island to be returned to its original African owners – Mauritius. The ICJ in its ruling stated the country was independent and thus, any occupation and control Britain over its territory is unlawful.
According to Mauritius' authorities, they were forced to give up the islands - now a British overseas territory - in 1965 in exchange for independence which it gained in 1968. This revelation further gives credit to the assertions of Professor Loch Otieno Lumumba, when he said that the colonial masters never left Africa but is still in control of all their initial interests in the continent.
By a margin of 94 to 15 countries, delegates supported a Mauritian-backed resolution to seek an advisory opinion from the international court of justice (ICJ) in The Hague on the legal status of the Chagos Islands.
Despite the International Court of Justice ruling that the islands were not lawfully separated from the former colony of Mauritius and the United Nations Assembly overwhelmingly voting for it to be returned, Britain has refused.
According to Mauritius, the proposal to separate the Chagos Archipelago stemmed from a decision by the United Kingdom in the early 1960s to "accommodate the United States' desire to use certain islands in the Indian Ocean for defence purposes."
The Chagos Archipelago or Chagos Islands are a group of seven atolls comprising more than 60 individual tropical islands in the Indian Ocean about 500 kilometres south of the Maldives archipelago.
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Header Image Credit: Guardian