Mauritius Disagrees with Britain’s Claim on the Chagos Islands

Mauritius has a rich history and culture, but it hasn’t come without struggles and issues. Most recently, those issues revolve around territory and land claims. Mauritius went before the United Nations’ court to argue that the United Kingdom presented and posed undue pressure and threats, back in 1965, to force them to give up an island in the Indian Ocean, all in exchange for independence.

The Chagos Islands are currently under British reign, but the judges at the ICJ are considering the legality, or the lack of, in terms of the sovereignty of the Chagos Islands. The largest of the islands is Diego Garcia, which is home to a major US airbase.

There are over 22 countries that are involved in the debate over the islands’ colonial past and history, as well as where the rights of exiled people and those who lived on these islands stand.

What seems like a beautiful country, with its white sand beaches and turquoise waters, has some less than beautiful issues. Ultimately, such disputes as the Chagos Islands are a matter of how power was and is imbalanced and used. Does this mean that deals struck between stronger and weaker countries should or should not be viewed as legitimate?

There are differing opinions regarding the issues at hand, whether it should be Mauritius or perhaps the UK who should have reign. Those who live on the islands, however, feel that they should have the right to sovereignty and self determination. The right of return is something that these people seek.

This is a great reminder that sometimes the places we go to for vacation or visit for a beach getaway are so much more than the resorts, the sand and the sea, and that we should be aware of this and acknowledge and respect the struggles, issues and reality of these countries and their people.