Islands, Sovereignty and the Right to Return: An Analysis of the Chagos Islands ICJ Advisory Opinion

Abstract: Did the UK act illegally in splitting off the Chagos Islands from Mauritius prior to its independence in 1968? On 22 June 2017 Mauritius successfully petitioned the UN to ask the International Court of Justice to consider this question, against the UK’s wishes, but the outcome is rather uncertain. This contribution explains why. In 1965, the UK excised the Chagos Islands from the British colony of Mauritius to create the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) after reaching an agreement with the representatives of the Mauritian colonial government (known as the 1965 Lancaster House Agreement). The UK paid Mauritius £3 million in recognition of the detachment of the Chagos Islands an

© 2020 by Journal of Territorial and Maritime Studies.

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