Africa’s decolonisation is far from being complete as the United Kingdom holds onto an archipelago, a group of islands in the Indian ocean as its colony. And this is despite UN resolution asking the old colonialist to leave.
The islands belong to Mauritius, but UK declined to let them go in 1965, when the country became independent. It’s like Britain holding on to Tarkwa Bay at Nigeria’s independence in 1960.
The development has infuriated the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, who has expressed deep concern over UK’s continued “colonial administration” of the Chagos Archipelago.
“The Chairperson expresses his deep concern over the continued colonial administration of the United Kingdom to the Chagos Archipelago, in violation of the United Nations General Assembly’s Resolution 73/295 adopted on May 22, 2019, in which the international community demanded from the United Kingdom to withdraw unconditionally within six months from the date of the Resolution, which expired on November 22, 2019,” an AU statement issued on late Friday read.
Chairperson of the 55-member pan African bloc further recalled that the UN General Assembly Resolution 73/295 was adopted following the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of February 25 this year “on the legal effects of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965.”
Mahamat also “reiterated the support of the African Union to the Republic of Mauritius for a complete decolonization of the Chagos Archipelago, in conformity with the Constitutive Act of the African Union which defines the defence of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of the Member States as one of its main objectives,” the statement read. He further reiterated the relevant decisions made by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU on the matter, in particular the Assembly/AU/Dec. 747(XXXll) decision on the decolonization of the Chagos Archipelago, which was adopted in February this year in Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. The AU Commission Chairperson also “called upon the United Kingdom to comply with the General Assembly Resolution, within the spirit of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice.” He further “requests the international community to continue its support to the Republic of Mauritius for a complete decolonization of the Chagos Archipelago.”
Chagos Archipelago, a group of islands in the Indian Ocean, was hived off Mauritius in the run-up to independence in 1965. The Britain has retained possession of the islands ever since, while Mauritius has continued to claim its sovereignty over them. The International Court of Justice, also the principal judicial organ of the UN, in February handed Mauritius a victory when it said in a legal opinion that Britain had illegally split the islands and should give up control of them. The resolution on Wednesday, which received 116 votes in favor, demands that Britain withdraw its colonial administration, thus enabling Mauritius to complete the decolonization of its territory “as rapidly as possible.”
The UN General Assembly’s Resolution 73/295 that was adopted on May 22 this year demands that UK withdraw its colonial administration within six months period, thus enabling Mauritius to complete the decolonization of its territory “as rapidly as possible.” The resolution, eventually, expired on Friday as the UK failed to do so, much to the dissatisfaction of the AU as it urged the UK “to comply with the General Assembly Resolution, within the spirit of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice.