Posted on March 8th, 2019


The UN ‘s highest court recently ruled that the UK’s claim of sovereignty of the Chagos Isands is illegal. It was stated that the UK’s continued administration of the islands ” constitutes a wrongful act entailing the international responsibility of that state”. Mauritius reported to the courts that the UK forced her to give up the territory of Chagos islands in exchange for her rightful claim for Independence from the UK in 1968.

The UN court accepted the position of Mauritius and rejected UK’s claims. The sad story of the people of Chagos Island began in 1965  when the UK ” purchased ” the Island and then signed an agreement in 1966 for 50 years with the United States for them  to build an airbase in Deo Gracia the largest of the Islands. The onus of getting rid of the inhabitant population fell on the British as per the agreement.

In fact the indigenous people who lived for centuries in these island were treated  disdainfully when the UK high official referred to the ‘acquisition’ as an ” exercise was to get some rocks which will remain ours: there will be no indigenous population except sea gulls who have not yet got a committee”. This naked
aggression took place in 1960s when there was a compendium of human rights and concept of a civilized world!

In 1968 the British with covert support of the USA began the driving away of the islanders who have been living  there for centuries. The islanders were threatened with being shot. bombed and gassed. Finally this epic human rights violation of ethnic cleansing resulted in about 5000 islanders moving away and settling down in Mauritius as paupers and homeless.

Meantime, Deo Gracia became one of the largest navel base being the center for launching attacks in the Middle East by the USA and also being used as operational base for notorious rendition program. The US government does not want any native people to be  resettled in Deo Gracia as indicated in a diplomatic cable to the UK in 2006.

ICJ ordered the UK to hand back the Islands to Mauritius as rapidly as possible was a landmark ruling with  the judgement reached with 13 to 1 majority and obviously and decently USA voting against. The UK government in its determination to hold on to the airbase rather than considering the just rights of its
native people, has rejected both the ICJ ‘s order and the overwhelming majority ruling. We should  get now back to Samantha Power who was hoping Sri Lanka to be a civilized society to tell us the essence of the story of the Chagos Island and why the UK and the US do not want to display their decency when the highest UN court had given a clear order in keeping with the principles of justice.

We get another chance to examine Samantha Power’s insistence on Sri Lanka’s decency when we consider how the people in Okinawa voted in the last month to relocate the US Naval base which many Japanese in Okinawa do consider as a burden on the small islands. They voted for relocation.But, the US will stay put against the majority wish registered at the polls. Again, we are faced with the dilemma of the Western mindset.

” The ides of March, Yes but they are not gone”


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