Where are the Chagos Islands and why are the UK and UN disputing them?

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The UK are currently in a dispute with the UN over the ownership of the Chagos Island.

But where are the islands and why is there a dispute?

Chagos Island is a disputed region in the Indian Ocean
Reuters

Where are the Chagos Islands?

The Chagos Islands are located in the Indian Ocean around 500 kilometres south of the Maldives archipelago.

The major islands in the Chagos archipelago are the Diego Garcia, Peros Banhos, Salomon Islands and Egmont Islands.

The islands cover an area of 56.13km²

Why is there a dispute?

The Chagos Island had belonged to Mauritius since the 18th century when the French settled on the islands.

But they were given to the British in 1810 under the Act of Capitulation signed by the UK and France.

In 1965 before Mauritius got independence, the UK split the archipelago and took the territory from Mauritius to form the British Indian Ocean Territory.

The breakup of colonial territories prior to independence has been banned by the United Nations.

The United Nation’s highest court has since ruled that the UK should end its control over the islands.

The International Court of Justice said the islands had not been separated lawfully from Mauritius.

A UK Foreign Office spokesman said: “This is an advisory opinion, not a judgment.”

The UK said previously they’d return the islands when they were no longer need for defence.

The Foreign Office said: “The defence facilities on the British Indian Ocean Territory help to protect people here in Britain and around the world from terrorist threats, organised crime and piracy.”



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