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Britain refuses to end colonial rule in Africa’s Chagos Islands

Britain has failed to withdraw from the Chagos Islands, the last territory it still colonizes in Africa despite a deadline for it to do so.

A United Nations deadline for Britain to end “continued colonial administration” expired this week.

The U.N. General Assembly voted in May in favor of Britain returning the islands to Mauritius and set a deadline for November 22, 2019.

The Chagos Islands belong to the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius and has been under British rule for centuries.

Britain however says it does not recognize Mauritius’ sovereignty claim.

In a statement on November 5, Britain’s Foreign Office said “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.”

Map shows the Chagos Islands and Mauritius

But the African Union on Friday called on Britain to withdraw from the Chagos Islands and end its rule there.

Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth has described Britain’s refusal to give up control of the islands as a violation of international law.

“The United Kingdom cannot profess to be a champion of the rule of law and human rights whilst maintaining an illegal colonial administration,” he told parliament on Thursday.

Britain based on its hold on the Island rented it out as home to the Diego Garcia U.S. military base as well as serving as a bomber base for the Air Force.

“Mauritius has stated on various occasions that it fully recognizes the importance of the military base in Diego Garcia and will take no action that will impede its continued operation,” Jugnauth said.


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