Friday, November 5, 2021

Cover from The British Indian Ocean Territory!


This cover is one best surprises in my mailbox this year, sent by my dear friend Wolfgang from Austria. BIOT is a British Overseas Territory of the UK situated in the Indian Ocean halfway between Tanzania and Indonesia, with total land area of just 60 square kilometres. The largest and most southerly island is Diego Garcia, 27 km2, the site of a Joint Military Facility of the UK and the USA.

The only inhabitants are British and U.S. military personnel and associated contractors, who collectively number around 3,000. The forced removal of Chagossians from the Chagos Archipelago occurred between 1968 and 1973. Today, the exiled Chagossians are still trying to return, saying that the forced expulsion and dispossession was unlawful, but the UK government has repeatedly denied them the right of return.

Since the 1980s, the Government of Mauritius has sought to regain control over the Chagos Archipelago. A February 2019 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice called for the islands to be given to Mauritius. Since this, the United Nations General Assembly and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea have reached similar decisions. 

The Universal Postal Union (UPU), a UN agency in charge of the world's postal policies, voted to block the use of UK stamps from the remote archipelago. All post from the Chagos Islands must now bear stamps from Mauritius, so i was lucky to receive this cover, cause this maybe not possible anymore in the future. 

 On this cover you can see stamp with beautiful reef manta ray and very clear blue postmark from post office in Diego Garcia, and big black postmark of BIOT post office with BIOT coat of arms. 

Thank you so much Wolfgang for this beautiful surprise!


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