This week, Britain has a deadline to give up its last African colony
“Global” Britain, that post-Brexit paradox, is coming at the UK in surprising ways. Britain is under international pressure to give up its last African colony, the remote Chagos islands.
But Britain doesn’t recognize Mauritius’s claim over what it calls the British Indian Ocean Island Territory, and the issue continues to fester. And it comes to a head on November 22.
Earlier this year, the International Court of Justice ruled the 1965 excision of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius unlawful because it wasn’t based on the free will of the people concerned. The court advised the UK to end its governance of Chagos “as rapidly as possible”.
In May, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly affirmed this, setting a November 22 deadline – 116 member states were in favour and six were against. (Incidentally, the US, Hungary, Israel and Australia were among the dissenters.)
And in September, Pope Francis, on a visit to Mauritius, said that the UK, saying it needs to respect the wishes of international institutions.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s Labour Party, has repeatedly said the UK should respect the international court’s opinion. It’s a throwback to the way a Labour government decided to grant full independence to India.