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    Decolonising the Chagos Islands?

    Reynolds, John (2019) Decolonising the Chagos Islands? Nigerian Yearbook of International Law, 2. ISSN 2523-8868

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    The story of the Chagos archipelago is a familiar one in the history of international law. It is indicative of international law’s complicity in European oppression and dispossession of colonized peoples and places. Yet while much of the machinations of colonial rule were spannered – at least nominally in the form of sovereignty-as-independence – by the national liberation movements of the 20th century, the Chagos travesty persists into our 21st century colonial present. Britain’s refusal to let go of the small group of faraway islands serves as a contradictory symbol of both its self-deluding pretensions of empire on one hand, and its self-abasing servitude to United States imperialism on the other. It reminds us that colonialism is still very much with us, and that self-determination remains contingent. International law’s ode to sovereign equality and territorial integrity is as much about concealing its own colonial foundations as it is about delivering on a promise of liberation. This essay reflects on these themes in light of the 2019 International Court of Justice advisory opinion on the Chagos Archipelago, engaging with critical questions of international law as well as with the insights of Third World thinkers including Kwame Nkrumah, Amílcar Cabral and Eduardo Galeano.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Chagos Islands; International Law; Decolonization; International Court of Justice; Third World;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Law
    Item ID: 14149
    Depositing User: John Reynolds
    Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2021 15:22
    Journal or Publication Title: Nigerian Yearbook of International Law
    Publisher: Springer
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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