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The People of Chagos Islands Want a Seat at the Table 

A legal attempt has been launched to halt negotiations between the UK and Mauritius over the sovereignty of the Chagos Islands, Britain’s last African colony, claiming Chagossian people’s views are being ignored. Bernadette Dugasse, who was born on Diego Garcia, an island within what is known today as the British Indian Ocean Territory, is seeking judicial review of the government’s approach to the talks. In a pre-action letter sent to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), lawyers representing Dugasse argue that the negotiations are unlawful as they “are being held without consulting her and the Chagossian people”. Dugasse, with the support of other former inhabitants and their descendants, is seeking a pause in the talks “so that the former residents and their families are properly consulted with respect of the negotiations on the sovereignty of the Chagos Islands”. Mauritius, a British colony until its independence in 1968, claims the remote Chagos Islands as its own territory. Three years before independence, the UK severed the Chagos Islands from the rest of Mauritius so it could lease Diego Garcia to the US for military use.