A vivid and enlightening narrative of the struggle for control of “Britain’s final colony in Africa.”
By Philippe Sands ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 26, 2023
The little-known story of the Chagos archipelago in the Indian Ocean, which was forcibly evacuated and appropriated by British authorities in the 1970s, has captivated British lawyer and international law expert Philippe Sands. He wrote The Ratline and East West Street to explore the case of the inhabitants of the archipelago, who were part of Mauritius and inherited by Britain at the end of the Napoleonic wars. Despite Mauritius gaining independence in 1968, the jurisdiction of Chagos remained uncertain, and the International Court of Justice at the Hague ruled that Britain had to allow the residents to return, a decision which has yet to be implemented. Sands follows the personal story of Liseby Elysé, from the island of Peros Banhos, who was rounded up by the British with her family and few belongings in 1973. It was later revealed that the British had allowed the Americans to use the neighboring island of Diego Garcia as a military base. The author examines the international push for decolonization since the end of World War I, including the work of Ralph Bunche and the 1945 U.N. Charter, as well as U.N. Resolution 1514, which was designed to hold South Africa accountable for its mistreatment of the inhabitants of South West Africa. Despite the independence of Mauritius, Diego Garcia was used to launch the Iraq War in 2003. Sands describes his advocacy for Elysé and her family, who were able to visit Peros Banhos together, and the book includes maps and photos. Despite the international court ruling, the British have yet to allow the inhabitants of the Chagos archipelago to return to their homes.
Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023
Page Count: 224
Review Posted Online: June 28, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023