from HANSLEY NABAB in Port Louis, Mauritius
PORT LOUIS, (CAJ News) – BRITAIN’S stranglehold over the Chagos Islands despite orders by the International Court of Justice to cede them to Mauritius has encountered a fresh blow after Chagossian people sued to the tune of £1 billion ($1,38 billion) for lost fishing rights.
Queen Elizabeth II is the main respondent in the case at the British Indian Ocean Territory Supreme Court.
“There is no doubt the Chagos Archipelago fishing rights have both monetary and cultural value and the Chagossians are barred from even entering the territory’s waters,” said Dr Jonathan Levy, the international lawyer representing the Chagos islanders.
“The colonial administration has the power to issue the currency requested and has no excuse for what amounts to continuing theft of indigenous property and rights,” the legal representative added.
The Chagos Archipelago is one of the world’s prime fisheries rich in tuna, shell and game fish.
The United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) and many countries with native peoples including the United States (US), Canada and Australia recognise indigenous fishing rights.
Chagos Archipelago, also referred to as the British Indian Ocean Territory is best known for the top secret United States naval base on Diego Garcia Island and the forced deportation of the original Afro-Creole inhabitants from the region between 1967 and 1973 and subsequent apartheid laws barring them from returning home.
Britain did not cede the area to Mauritius at the latter’s independence in 1968.
The United Nations General Assembly, African Union, and International Court of Justice found Britain’s deportation of the Chagos Islanders and continued military occupation of the Chagos as a serious violation of international law.
Amid the disregard of laws, British and US military forces still ban Chagossians from the territory.
– CAJ News