Philippa says: “When it comes to the treatment of the Chagossians, it’s as if the democratic revolution never happened. It is totally tyrannical. I cannot understand why successive British governments would act against their own subjects so consistently over so many years using so many underhand techniques.”
Archive for September, 2011
The Chagos Islands All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) held its 23rd meeting on 7th September 2011.
The Group reviewed developments during the parliamentary recess. Members were pleased that Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials had held a meeting on 27th July 2011 with Chagossian Leaders, but noted that the agenda had been restricted to visits, restoration and environmental work; the right of return, resettlement and the proposal for a scientific station supported by Chagossians living in a nearby village (put forward at the Chagos Regagné Conference held at the Royal Geographical Society, London, on 19th May 2011) were excluded by the FCO on grounds that these were ‘political’ issues. While welcoming these on-going projects, the APPG took the view that they could not be a substitute for resolving the underlying issues. The Group also noted that recent press briefings by the FCO had described these ‘initiatives’ as part of of an ongoing ‘strategy’ for BIOT. It was particularly important, in the run-up to the consideration of the Chagos islanders case by the European Court of Human Rights, that this strategy did not distract attention from the fundamental issues before the Court.
The meeting discussed the correspondence concerning the defence security of Diego Garcia between the Chairman, Jeremy Corbyn and the US Ambassador, and the Vice Chairman, Andrew Rosindell and the Foreign Secretary William Hague, noting that both the US Ambassador and Mr Hague had not replied. The Group looked forward to a meeting with the Foreign Secretary which the Chairman had first requested in early February 2011. It was understood that Mr Hague was keen to meet the Group and that a date would be fixed. In June 2011 the Group had asked for a meeting with the US Ambassador.
The Group learnt that the case before the European Court of Human Rights had been delayed, once again at the request of the FCO, by a further month. The date for final submissions on the implications of the Al-Skeini case was now 30th September 2011. In view of the continuing delays to the case, first lodged 7 years ago, the Chagossian lawyers had re-activated the application for a judicial review of the Marine Protected Area.
The next meeting of the APPG is 19th October 2011.