A glaring running sore of British colonialism has at last received a measure of justice in the form of an International Court of Justice (ICJ) verdict:
"Mauritius has won a case against Britain at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) involving decolonisation of the strategically important island of Diego Garcia, which is home to a US military base. Britain must give Mauritius control of the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, the ICJ said on Monday. The court in a majority opinion... said the decolonisation of Mauritius 'was not lawfully complete' when it obtained independence because Britain carved away the Chagos Archipelago from it and retained control over it. The opinion, which is non-binding, handed down by the majority of 13 judges said Britain 'is under an obligation to bring to an end its administration of the Chagos Archipelago as rapidly as possible'.
"The sole dissenter was American Judge Joan E. Donoghue. Britain is not represented on the ICJ bench... The court gave the opinion at the request of the United Nations General Assembly made in a 2017 resolution. Vehemently opposed by the US and Britain, the resolution received the vote of 94 countries while 15 voted against it and 65 abstained. Britain opposed the referral to the court saying it was a bilateral matter with Mauritius and indicated it would reject it. There is unlikely to be any challenge to the US Diego Garcia base from Mauritius either... Britain cut off the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965 before granting it independence in 1968. The residents of Diego Garcia were forcibly removed by the British colonial administration and it was leased out to the US, which set up its strategic Indian Ocean military base." (ICJ advises Britain to return Diego Garcia to Mauritius, economictimes.indiatimes, 26/2/19)
There are many parallels here with the case of Palestine. Once the Middle East was firmly in Britain's hands after WWI, the entire area should have undergone a natural transition to independence, what US president Woodrow Wilson called at the time, in point 12 of his famous 14 Points, "an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development."
Instead, the Middle East was well and truly denied that "unmolested opportunity of autonomous development" by Britain and France, with the former taking control of Palestine, Transjordan and Iraq, and the latter Syria. France then set about crushing the first representative Arab government, based in Damascus, in 1920, while the British, in defiance of the wishes of Palestine's indigenous Arab majority, proceeded to open Palestine up to mass Zionist immigration and colonisation. Under the protection of British bayonets, these Zionist immigrants were eventually able to reach a point, in 1948, where they were strong enough to take control of Palestine by force of arms, drive out the bulk of its Arab Palestinian inhabitants, and set up a 'Jewish' state. The rest, of course, is history.
In both cases - the Mauritian and the Middle Eastern - indigenous peoples were cruelly denied "an unmolested opportunity of autonomous development" by racist, imperialist powers. The legacy of that denial remains with us today and screams out for the justice of decolonisation.. We applaud the ICJ verdict on Mauritius, and await a similar one in the case of colonised Palestine.