It is not known as a destination for travellers. Diving, spear-fishing, removal of flora or fauna and commercial activity (including charter trips and fishing other than for subsistence purposes) are strictly prohibited and any offences will be pr… Visitors to the Chagos Archipelago are rare (Credit: Diane Selkirk) Salomon Atoll is the kind of fabled stop that travellers sail halfway around the world to reach. The UK should end its control of the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean "as rapidly as possible", the UN's highest court has said. In addition to the seven atolls with dry land reaching at least the high-water mark, there are nine reefs and banks, most of which can be considered permanently submerged atoll structures. Why is the Chagos Archipelago so important? On some islands, native forests were felled to plant coconut palms for the production of copra oil. On 25 February 2019, the International Court of Justice ruled that the United Kingdom is under an obligation to bring to an end its administration of the Chagos Archipelago as rapidly as possible. As of 2012[update], the islands have a transitory population of about 3,000 (300 British government personnel and 2,700 United States Army, Navy and Air Force personnel). The Chagos contain the world's largest coral atoll, The Great Chagos Bank, which supports half the total area of good quality reefs in the Indian Ocean. On 30 December 1966, the United States and the United Kingdom executed an agreement through an Exchange of Notes which permit the United States Armed Forces to use any island of the BIOT for defence purposes for 50 years, until December 2016, followed by a 20-year optional extension (to 2036) to which both parties must agree by December 2014.  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. In Maldivian lore the whole group is known as Fōlhavahi or Hollhavai (the latter name in the Southern Maldives Adduan dialect of Dhivehi). The United Kingdom claims that it has no doubt about its sovereignty over the archipelago. It doubled the total area of environmental no-take zones worldwide. Its inhabitants, known as Chagossians, were descended from … International arrivals are projected to grow at an average annual rate of 3.3% over 2016–2020. The last license to fish near the Chagos archipelago expired in 2010. When it became so is debated.  The protection of the marine reserve will be guaranteed for the next five years thanks to the financial support of the Bertarelli Foundation. Britain failed to leave the Chagos Archipelago by November 2019, as instructed by the UN. Features are listed in the table from north to south: The main natural resources of the area are coconuts and fish. The indigenous Chagossians, a Bourbonnais Creole-speaking people, were evicted between … The Tribunal firmly rejected that argument, holding that those undertakings became a binding international agreement upon the independence of Mauritius, and have bound the UK ever since. This chain of islands is found in the southernmost archipelago of the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge, a long submarine … , Today, the status of the Chagos Islands’ native flora depends very much on past exploitation of particular islands. In fact, it is very hard to get to at all, as the main atoll, Diego Garcia, is also a joint military facility of the USA and the UK. Underwater treasure, however is large: over 370 species of coral, 800 species of fish, whole colonies of birds, sea turtles and crabs. While the remoteness of the Chagos offers some protection from extractive activities, legal and illegal fishing have had an impact. There is considerable poaching of turtles and other marine life. , The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has stated that Britain is legally obliged to hand back the Chagos Islands, including Diego Garcia, to Mauritius “as rapidly as possible.” This follows its landmark ruling that the UK’s occupation of the Chagos Islands was unlawful.. Personally, I like me this destination if traveling as from Reunion Island to Indonesia or Australia. It is an Overseas territory of the United Kingdom, and the Government of the BIOT consists of Commissioner appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Despite its wide global distribution, it is rare in most of the areas it is found. Visits to the islands are tightly controlled and certain restrictions put in place; some of the islands have been designated as Strict Nature Reserves and it is illegal to enter them. It is administered from London and is located approximately halfway between East Africa and Indonesia. The summary paragraph of the referenced diplomatic cable follows: "HMG would like to establish a marine park or reserve providing comprehensive environmental protection to the reefs and waters of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), a senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) official informed Polcouns on May 12. In 1793, when the first successful colony was founded on Diego Garcia, the largest island, coconut plantations were established on many of the atolls and isolated islands of the archipelago. There are currently no industrial or agricultural activities on the islands. In November 1965, the UK purchased the entire Chagos Archipelago from the then self-governing colony of Mauritius for £3 million to create the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), with the intent of ultimately closing the plantations to provide the British territory from which the United States would conduct its military activities in the region. India has maintained considerable influence in Mauritius through deep cultural and economic ties. “The Chagos archipelago, which covers over 60 islands, would fit into our plan to develop tourism on other Indian Ocean islands that also belong to Mauritius.” , On 1 April 2010 Britain announced the creation of the Chagos Marine Protected Area, the world's largest continuous marine protected reserve with an area of 545,000 km2 (210,000 sq mi).. Diego Garcia, the largest island of the group, was considered “one of the most strategically placed air bases to launch flying-boat strikes against the U-boats which might try to escape to Japan.” We stopped there for nearly four weeks taking refuge on route from the Maldives to the Seychelles during the transition season when winds in the northern and southern hemisphere change. Besides beautiful pictures of the Chagos archipelago and atolls another interesting gone. This followed an effort led by The Chagos Environment Network, a collaboration of nine leading conservation and scientific organisations seeking to protect the rich biodiversity of the Chagos Archipelago and its surrounding waters. This chain of islands is the southernmost archipelago of the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge, a long submarine mountain range in the Indian Ocean.. Here are the clear waters of the Indian Ocean and ekostitemite in the area have proven resistant to climate change when there is no human intervention. The licensing of commercial fishing used to provide an annual income of about US$2 million for the British Indian Ocean Territory authorities. London then expelled the population of the islands, then numbering about 2,000 people, to build the air base. Initially the workers were slaves, but after 1840 they were freemen, many of whom were descended from those earlier slaves. Each tourism market is further analyzed by providing extensive data for key destination countries.  A subsidiary issue is the Mauritian opposition to the 1 April 2010 UK Government's declaration that the BIOT is a Marine Protected Area with fishing and extractive industry (including oil and gas exploration) prohibited.  In March 1971, Seabees, United States naval construction battalions, arrived on Diego Garcia to begin the construction of the Communications Station and an airfield. , The Chagos Islands have been colonised by plants since there was sufficient soil to support them—probably less than 4,000 years. This means the Chagos coconut crabs are a vital source for replenishing other over-exploited populations in the Indian Ocean region. As of 2018[update], Mauritius has taken the matter to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion, against British objections. The Chagos Archipelago or Chagos Islands, formerly the Bassas de Chagas and later known as the Oil Island, are a group of seven atolls comprising of more than 60 individual tropical islands in the Indian Ocean about 500 kilometres (310 mi) south of the Maldives archipelago. The Chagos Archipelago is chain of more than 60 islands in the Indian Ocean. All economic activity is concentrated on the largest island of Diego Garcia, where joint UK–US military facilities are located. The islands have a total land area of only 60km 2 .  The setting up of the Marine Reserve would appear to be an attempt to prevent any resettlement by the evicted natives in the 1960s and 1970s. Most of the 1,800 islanders ended up living in Britain. The largest and most southerly of the islands, Diego Garcia, contains a joint UK-US naval support facility. The deep oceanic waters around the Chagos Islands, out to the 200 nautical mile limit, include an exceptional diversity of undersea geological features (such as 6000 m deep trenches, oceanic ridges, and sea mounts). Maldives opposes any 200 nautical mile EEZ claim based on Chagos Archipelago. He said that the BIOT's former inhabitants would find it difficult, if not impossible, to pursue their claim for resettlement on the islands if the entire Chagos Archipelago were a marine reserve. Report. The Court concluded that, “as a result of the Chagos Archipelago’s unlawful detachment and its incorporation into a new colony, known as the [British Indian Ocean Territory] BIOT, the process of decolonization of Mauritius was not lawfully completed when Mauritius acceded to … However, licenses have not been given since October 2010; the last expired after the creation of the no-take marine reserve.. The Chagos Archipelago was separated from Mauritius in 1965, when Mauritius was still a British colony. About 280 species of flowering plants and ferns have now been recorded on the islands, but this increase reflects the introduction of non-native plants by humans, either accidentally or deliberately.  On 18 March 2015, the Permanent Court of Arbitration unanimously held that the marine protected area (MPA) which the United Kingdom declared around the Chagos Archipelago in April 2010 violates international law. The Chagossians and Their Struggle", "Mauritius: MPA Around Chagos Archipelago Violates International Law - This Is a Historic Ruling for Mauritius, Says PM", "MPA around Chagos Archipelago violates international law – This is a Historic ruling for Mauritius, says PM", "Chagossians fight for a home in paradise", "Chagos Islands dispute: UK 'threatened' Mauritius", "Chagos islanders cannot return home, UK Foreign Office confirms", https://maldivesindependent.com/politics/maldives-defends-un-vote-on-chagos-islands-dispute-145501, "Mauritius to reiterate its conditions for renewed talks with UK on Chagos", "Mauritius threatens to take Chagos Islands row to UN court", "U.K. seeks Indian help in resolving Chagos Archipelago dispute", "U.N. Asks International Court to Weigh In on Britain-Mauritius Dispute", "Chagos legal status sent to international court by UN", "UK suffers crushing defeat in UN vote on Chagos Islands", "Chagos islanders cannot return home, says Supreme Court", "Diego Garcia "Camp Justice" 7º20'S 72º25'E", "A Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Chagos", "Bleaching impacts on carbonate production in the Chagos Archipelago: influence of functional coral groups on carbonate budget trajectories", "Coral bleaching impacts from back-to-back 2015–2016 thermal anomalies in the remote central Indian Ocean", "Reefs and islands of the Chagos Archipelago, Indian Ocean: why it is the world's largest no-take marine protected area", "Sharks Crack The Case: Uncovering Illegal Activities In Paradise", The Creation of the Chagos Marine Protected Area: A Fisheries Perspective, "Concerns about the Chagos Archipelago MPA Proposal", "Conservation and Management in British Indian Ocean Territory (Chagos Archipelago)", "Wetland and marine protected areas on the world heritage list", "Britain protects Chagos Islands, creating world's largest marine reserve", "UK sets up Chagos Islands marine reserve", "Welcome to the Chagos Conservation Trust | Chagos Conservation Trust", "Consultation on Whether to Establish a Marine Protected Area in the British Indian Ocean Territory", "WikiLeaks: Foreign Office accused of misleading public over Diego Garcia | Politics", "Hmg Floats Proposal For Marine Reserve Covering", ICJ 2019 Advisory Opinion on Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Chagos_Archipelago&oldid=1000036938, Geography of the British Indian Ocean Territory, Articles with dead external links from July 2014, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2018, Articles containing Portuguese-language text, Articles needing additional references from October 2016, All articles needing additional references, Articles containing potentially dated statements from 2010, All articles containing potentially dated statements, Articles containing potentially dated statements from August 2010, Articles containing potentially dated statements from 2012, Articles containing potentially dated statements from 2018, Articles with unsourced statements from March 2015, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Inbound tourism in Italy registered good growth in 2015, supported by the Milano Expo, which attracted five million international visitors. In 1965, Britain paid the self-governing colony of Mauritius £3 million for the archipelago and established the British Indian Ocean Territory, administered by the Commissioner of Mauritius. Our potential for religious and cultural tourism will be enhanced to promote the ocean economy,” says Mauritius’ Minister of Tourism Anil Gayan. The United Kingdom has stated that it has no doubt about its sovereignty over the Chagos, but has also said that the Chagos will be returned to Mauritius once the islands are no longer required for defence purposes. Diego Garcia, the largest and most southerly island, has an area of 44km 2 . Also has an airport and quite facilities for living, but there are no conditions for tourism. Moreover, the weak Indonesian currency against the US dollar led to rise in domestic trips which reached 255 million in 2015. The inhabitants of Chagos were speaking Chagossian Creole, also known as Ilois creole, a French Creole which has not been properly researched from the linguistic point of view. In a press statement issued last week, Mancham suggested that Seychelles and the British government should engage in offering certain assistance and encouragement to the development of tourism in some parts of the Chagos archipelago.. Mancham said that Seychelles had over recent years acquired considerable experience in the … Copy and paste the url below to share the link. Detailed market classification covering tourism flows, tourist expenditure and average expenditure per trip is provided. The reserve was then created in 2010. This became known as the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). History is strewn with people screwed over by humanity. Chagos islanders' exile is ongoing breach of human rights, court told Appeal begins on behalf of two Chagossians forcibly deported by Britain in the 1970s Published: 12 May 2020 Most of the coralline structures of the Chagos are submerged reefs. Maldives has so much to offer with its 200 inhabited islands and 80 more which are chiefly used as resorts. Thursday 9 March 2017 . A 55-year-old native of the remote Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean, Bancoult heads a group of mostly elderly women who, like him, were expelled shortly after Britain bought the archipelago … , Litigation continues as of 2012[update] regarding the right of return for the displaced islanders and Mauritian sovereignty claims. Diego Garcia is the largest atoll, is the location of a military base, and is strictly off-limits to cruisers. There does, however, seem to be general consensus in the arguments put before the ICJ, that it is now a rule of customary international law that there is a right to self-determination for former colonies. Those sailing to the BIOT and mooring in one of the harbors, need to apply for a permit prior to visiting. The number of atolls in the Chagos Archipelago is given as four or five in most sources, plus two island groups and two single islands, mainly because it is not recognised that the Great Chagos Bank is a huge atoll structure (including those two island groups and two single islands), and because Blenheim Reef, which has islets or cays above or just reaching the high-water mark, is not included. Britain detached the Chagos Islands from Mauritius before Mauritius gained independence. The British Indian Ocean Territory, or the Chagos Archipelago, is only accessibly by private vessel. On 23 June 1976, Aldabra, Farquhar and Desroches were returned to the Seychelles. The largest individual islands are Diego Garcia (32.5 km2), Eagle (Great Chagos Bank, 3.1 km2), Île Pierre (Peros Banhos, 1.40 km2), Eastern Egmont (Egmont Islands, 2.17 km2), Île du Coin (Peros Banhos, 1.32 km2) and Île Boddam (Salomon Islands, 1.27 km2). Please note that there are no supplies for purchase in this area and therefore, visitors should bring everything necessary with them. I'm not going to do it for you, but if you type "Chagos Archipelago" into a Google search box and hit the return button, you'll have answers to all your questions and much, much more. Purchase of the Chagos Islands for £3m. Historically, the coral cover was dense and healthy even in deep water on the steep outer reef slopes. Fifty years after the inhabitants of the Chagos Islands were forced to leave photographs show how nature has reclaimed their homes. The Chagos Archipelago was separated from Mauritius in 1965, when Mauritius was still a British colony. An online cruising guide for yachts sailing to Chagos (British Indian Ocean Territory) in the Indian Ocean. The land area of the islands is 56.13 km2 (21.7 sq. Indonesia’s tourism sector depicted growth during 2010–2015, driven by the tourism ministry’s promotional campaigns such as “Wonderful Indonesia”. A local government as normally envisioned does not exist. “For the Maldives, any uncertainty concerning the issue of the Chagos archipelago will have serious implications for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and the wider security of the Indian Ocean region.” She reiterated support for the UN’s decolonisation processes and stressed that the decision “should not be construed as a vote or a position taken against the co-sponsors of the resolution, with … The sovereignty of the Chagos Archipelago is disputed between the United Kingdom and Mauritius. , Portuguese explorers were the first Europeans to discover the archipelago. But one group of people being screwed right now that almost no one knows about is the people of the Chagos Islands.. Currently we can see the remains of the buildings and fill your water from existing wells, as long as you can walk through the dense jungle. Chagos Islands: UK refusal to return archipelago to Mauritius show the limits of international law November 26, 2019 11.10am EST Miriam Bak McKenna , Lund University June to September is considered the drier season (winter), characterised by moderate south-easterly winds, slightly cooler temperatures and less rainfall. , On 27 April 1786 the Chagos Islands and Diego Garcia were claimed for Great Britain. Because the … The Chagos Environment Network cites several reasons for supporting a protected area: The UK government opened a three-month public consultation which ended after the 5 March 2010 about conservation management of the Chagos Islands and its surrounding waters. , On 16 November 2016, the UK Foreign Office maintained their ban on resettlement of the islands. Since 1971, only the atoll of Diego Garcia is inhabited, and only by military and civilian contracted personnel. The Chagos Archipelago (/ˈtʃɑːɡəs, -ɡoʊs/) or Chagos Islands (formerly the Bassas de Chagas, and later the Oil Islands) are a group of seven atolls comprising more than 60 individual tropical islands in the Indian Ocean about 500 kilometres (310 mi) south of the Maldives archipelago. He qualified the ruling as an important milestone in the relentless struggle, at the political, diplomatic and other levels, of successive Governments over the years for the effective exercise by Mauritius of its sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago. If the Chagossians return, they plan to re-establish copra production and fishing, and to begin the commercial development of the islands for tourism. The UK had argued that those undertakings were not binding and had no status in international law. An independent feasibility study led to the conclusion that resettlement would be "costly and precarious".  Neglected by the Portuguese, this lonely and isolated group, economically and politically uninteresting, was never made part of the Portuguese Empire. The Tribunal also found that the United Kingdom's undertaking to return the Chagos Archipelago to Mauritius when no longer needed for defence purposes is legally binding. Egmont atoll was uninhabited for many years, but is a favorite spot for boaters and occasional travelers. The French began issuing permits for companies to establish coconut oil plantations on the Chagos in the 1770s. Access is restricted and a permit is … The surviving Ilois are still fighting for the return of their country via British courts. Former Seychelles President James Mancham welcomes the news. It is administered from London and is located approximately halfway between East Africa and Indonesia. The Chagos, together with the Maldives and Lakshadweep, forms the Maldives-Lakshadweep-Chagos Archipelago tropical moist forests terrestrial ecoregion. It is populated by military who live in military base. Coral reefs are scattered across the Indian Ocean, but let us note that here is the largest atoll in the world Great Chagos Bank. Tourism Chagos archipelago will, because at the end of last century, almost all natives have left for building a military base in the UK and the US.  Dugongs, being locally extinct today, once thrived in the archipelago and the Sea Cow Island was named after the presences of the species. In 1968, Mauritius gained independence from the British Empire. Another feasibility study, commissioned by organisations supporting resettlement, found that resettlement would be possible at a cost to the British taxpayer of £25 million. The British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), an archipelago of 58 islands covering some 640,000 sq km of ocean, is a British Overseas Territory.  On 22 May 2019, the United Nations General Assembly debated and adopted a resolution that affirmed that the Chagos archipelago “forms an integral part of the territory of Mauritius.” The resolution demanded that the UK “withdraw its colonial administration … unconditionally within a period of no more than six months.” 116 states voted in favour of the resolution, 55 abstained and only 5 countries supported the UK.  The islands and their surrounding waters are a vast oceanic Environment Preservation and Protection Zone (EPPZ) (Fisheries Conservation and Management Zone (FCMZ) of 544,000 square kilometres (210,000 sq mi)), an area twice the size of the UK's land surface. Hundreds more are waiting to be rediscovered by curious travelers in what is regarded as one of the most beautiful archipelagos in the world. The Chagos Archipelago is chain of more than 60 islands in the Indian Ocean. According to Southern Maldivian oral tradition, local traders and fishermen were occasionally lost at sea and became stranded in one of the islands of the Chagos. The Chagos group is a combination of different coralline rock structures topping a submarine ridge running southwards across the centre of the Indian Ocean, formed by volcanoes above the Réunion hotspot. The Chagos archipelago has six atolls and a number of reefs. The British Indian Ocean Territory is centrally located in the Indian Ocean, south of the Maldives, about halfway between Madagascar and Indonesia.The main island, Diego Garcia, is a military facility off limits to anyone not on official duty, but some of the uninhabited outer islands can be visited by independent yachters with advance permission. The Chagos were governed from Mauritius, which was by that time also a British colony.. In 2002 Diego Garcia was used twice for US rendition flights. Maldives or the Maldive Islands lies on the Indian Ocean between Chagos Archipelago and … Home | Europe | Asia | Africa | North America | Yahoo Travel | Google News | Google+ | Australia | Contact Us. The island of Diego Garcia was the largest island in the Chagos Archipelago and was selected as a potential area for development of an US base. However, the plantations, both under their previous private ownership and under government administration, proved consistently unprofitable due to the introduction of new oils and lubricants in the international marketplace, and the establishment of vast coconut plantations in the East Indies and the Philippines. Learn more about Diego Garcia here. Other uninhabited islands, especially in the Salomon Atoll, are common stopping points for long-distance yachtsmen travelling from Southeast Asia to the Red Sea or the coast of Africa, although a permit is required to visit the outer islands.  Portuguese seafarers named the group as Bassas de Chagas, Portuguese: Chagas (wounds) referring to the Holy Wounds of the crucifixion of Jesus. At 640,000 km2, it is larger than France or the U.S. state of California. 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