Archive for April, 2009

Lords consider Chagos citizenship loophole

Posted in Uncategorized on April 5th, 2009 by Robert Bain – Be the first to comment

On 4 April, the Lords discussed Lord Avebury’s amendment to the Citizenship Bill. Put very simply, whilst not seeing it as a substitute for repatriation to their own lands, he was trying to correct the anomaly that prevents second and third generation Chagossians gaining British citizenship. (The irony of this is, had they been born in the Chagos Archipelago and not exiled, British Citizenship would have been their birthright). Lord Avebury said that this was a matter of principle: the Islanders and their children should have the same rights as they would have enjoyed to transmit citizenship to their children as they would have had if they had not been evicted. One of the sad consequences of this is that families are split up. Lord Ramsbottom, Lord Bridges and Baroness Whittaker who, with Lord Avebury and the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, put in many long hours to prepare, brief and speak for the Chagossians, joined the discussion, but the government would not give way. Lord Brett, for the Government, also opined that updating the 2002 feasibility study was not necessary viz-a-viz resettlement despite the prevailing view that it had been discredited. The interventions by several members of the House of Lords in this debate reflect the increased parliamentary attention being devoted to the Chagossians and their plight since the establishment of the APPG.