The African union on Friday asked the U.K. to withdraw from the Chagos Islands and end its “continued colonial administration” after a United Nations deadline for it to do so expired.
The Chagos Islands belong to the small Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius, according to the advisory opinion the top U.N. court issued in February. The U.N. General Assembly in May voted in favour of Britain returning the islands to Mauritius and set a deadline for Nov. 22.
In a statement, the AU called on Britain to comply with the U.N. resolution.
“The President of the Commission reiterates the support of the African Union to the Republic of Mauritius for a complete decolonization of the Chagos Archipelago, in accordance with the Constitutive Act of the African Union which defines among other objectives the defense the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of the member states, as well as the relevant decisions of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in this area, in particular Assembly / AU /Dec.747(XXXII) on the decolonization of the Chagos archipelago adopted in February 2019 in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia),” the statement read.
Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth called Britain’s refusal to give up control of the islands a violation of international law.
“The United Kingdom cannot profess to be a champion of the rule of law and human rights whilst maintaining an illegal colonial administration,” he told parliament on Thursday.
The only inhabited island of the Indian Ocean archipelago is home to the Diego Garcia U.S. military base, rented out by Britain and a bomber base for the Air Force.