The UN General Assembly voted by 94 countries to 15 that The Hague should examine the legal status of the Chagos Islands.The former British colony used to be part of Mauritius but was detached in 1965 and is now home to a US airbase.The Foreign Office said it would be an "inappropriate" use of the ICJ."This is a disappointing outcome," a Foreign Office spokesman said: "Sovereignty of the British Indian Ocean Territory is clearly a matter for the UK and Mauritius to resolve ourselves."Taking this dispute to the International Court of Justice is an inappropriate use of the ICJ mechanism."Mauritius, which gained independence from Britain in 1968, argues that the UK broke international law when it separated off the islands before granting Mauritius its independence.
Officially part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, the Chagos were home to the Chagossians, a Bourbonnais Creole speaking people, for more than a century and a half until the United Kingdom evicted them between 1967 and 1973 to allow the United States to build a military base on Diego Garcia, the largest of the Chagos Islands. Since 1971, only the atoll of Diego Garcia is inhabited, and only by military and civilian contracted personnel.
On November 16, 2016, the UK Foreign Office maintained their ban on resettlement of the islands.] In response to this decision, the Prime Minister of Mauritius expressed his country's plan to advance the sovereignty dispute to the International Court of Justice.] The British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has sought Indian assistance for resolving the dispute involving UK, USA and Mauritius. India has maintained considerable influence in Mauritius through deep cultural and economic ties. While India has maintained that the matter of whether or not to proceed with the UN General Assembly move is a decision for the Mauritian government to make.
On 23 June 2017, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted in favour of referring the territorial dispute between Mauritius and the UK to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in order to clarify the legal status of the Chagos Islands archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The motion was approved by a majority vote with 94 voting for and 15 against.
"We have committed to cede them to Mauritius when the territory is no longer required for defence purposes," the spokesman said."At present it plays an important role in regional and global security, helping to keep the UK, US and other allies, including Mauritius, safe."Safe from whom?