UN court rules UK has no sovereignty over Chagos islands

The maritime law tribunal of the United Nations has ruled that Britain has no sovereignty over the Chagos Islands.

It criticised London for its failure to hand the territory back to Mauritius.

The judges’ decision confirms a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and a vote in the UN General Assembly.

The Indian Ocean archipelago includes a US military base. The UK has said it will hand the islands back when they’re no longer needed for defence purposes.

In response to the ruling, a spokesperson for the British Foreign Office said: “The UK has no doubt as to our sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), which has been under continuous British sovereignty since 1814. Mauritius has never held sovereignty over the BIOT and the UK does not recognise its claim.”


Last modified: February 1, 2021