Following our report on positive political backing for the Chagossian people in the last week, we have received confirmation that at the recent SNP conference the party backed a motion calling on the UK Government to “end the unacceptable delay in implementing the Chagossians right to return home to their islands.”
We wholly welcome the party’s formal support for the Chagossian people. The full text of the motion, approved unanimously by SNP delegates, can be read below.
The SNP Motion Backing Chagossian Return
Conference notes the Award dated 18 March 2015 in the matter of Chagos Marine Protected Area Arbitration (Mauritius v United Kingdom), and notes the Chagos Archipelago is administered by the United Kingdom as the ‘British Indian Ocean Territory’.
Conference further notes the written statement made in the UK Parliament on 24 March 2015 by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office announcing delay until after the General Election on a decision about resettlement of the Chagos Islands.
Conference expresses frustration with the ongoing approach of the UK Government in relation to the Chagossian people, and notes that the behaviour of the UK Government has consistently been contrary to well established laws on decolonization and self-determination.
Conference calls upon the UK Government to end the unacceptable delay in implementing the Chagossians right to return home to their islands.
We have SNP National Council member William Henderson to thank for propsoing the motion, which was seconded by Julie Hepburn, an elected member of the National Executive Committee.
We should also thank the many Scottish activists who have picked up the Chagossian cause and helped us raise awareness on social media. Their vocal and pro-active backing no doubt contributed to the issue grabbing the party’s interest.
With the SNP expected to gain a number of seats in the next election (polls indicate they could win 50 seats) this could a major development in the fight for Chagossian freedom. We look forward to working with the party to win Chagossians’ right to return home.
Although to our knowledge this is the first time the SNP have offered their formal support to the Chagossian people’s fight for justice, their former leader Alex Salmond has taken an interest in the cause previously.
In 2004 Mr Salmond accused the then Government of behaving in a “sneaky” and “under-hand” manner, and being “morally homeless.” This related to the then Government’s use of Orders-in-Council, essentially Royal Prerogative, to effectively nullify a High Court ruling which permitted Chagossians to return home.