The United Nations have passed a resolution demanding that the UK return control of the Chagos Islands to Mauritius after 54 years.

Mauritius says that it was forced to give up the islands in the Indian Ocean to the UK in exchange for independence in 1965, with the population forcibly evicted.

116 voted in favour of the motion calling on the UK to end its control of the island group, with only six voting against – including the United States, Australia and Israel.

56 countries, including France and Germany, abstained from the non-binding vote.

The islands are home to a US military base on the largest island, Diego Garcia, which has been used as a base for US operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and a CIA ‘black site’ for interrogating terrorism suspects.

The Americans’ lease for the military base currently lasts until 2036.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has rejected Mauritius’ claim to the islands but has stood by its previous commitment to hand control over to the country once they are no longer needed for security purposes.