Getting involved

The Chagossians urgently need your help in their search for justice. Here are some ways you can make a difference.

Urge the government to restore their right to return and provide proper compensation

Chagossians have fought long and hard for justice, sadly to no avail so far. Your help could be vital in finally winning justice, with the Government pledged to make a decision on supporting return very soon.

What can I do?

Volunteer

If you are available to offer help, please let us know. Maybe you have experience in fundraising, writing, speaking, campaigning, computing, languages, law…? Or maybe you just have passion and a few hours of time per week? Trust us, there’s always some way you can make a real contribution! Email ukchagos@gmail.com to chat more about what you’d like to.

As an example of the work you could be doing, we’ve created a few general roles below. Don’t feel constrained by the job descriptions though; you would be welcome to mix and match. We’ll be happy to provide glowing references and this will certainly look good on your CV!

 

Campaigns Officer: A very general role, you would work to develop and implement online and grassroots campaign strategies. These would primarily be aimed at securing Chagossians’ right to return home though inevitably the role will develop as events develop.

Events Officer: Half the battle with the Chagossian cause is getting people to know about it. In the next year we’d like to run more events where Chagossians can explain their experiences in crowds and tell them how to take action to deliver justice. This though takes a lot of organisational work and we really need some enthusiastic and pro-active people to make this happen.

Website Manager: We hope to launch a new website in the coming months but this really takes a bit more expertise and time than we have at present. The site itself is all but ready to go. If you wish to make a longer-term commitment in would be great if you could manage and develop the site on a longer term basis.

Fundraising Officer: We’d like to get more of a regular income so we can plan our work better. This might involve applying to trusts for grants, establishing more individual donors  or maybe finding some businesses to work with.

We are also very open to suggestions of how we can improve our work.

Get behind us online!

Keep visiting our site to stay up-to-date with Chagos developments. You can also like our Facebook page, join our Facebook group and follow us on Twitter. If you’d like to receive our monthly email update, click here to sign up. And please contact us if you want to know more about what we are up to, what you can do to help, or if you have any other questions.

Donate

The UK Chagos Support Association is run on a very limited budget and depends on donations from the public. We urgently need donations to help raise awareness of the islanders’ plight among the public and those in power, and to support the Chagossians directly. Please give what you can here.

Funds have recently been used to support Chagossians in financial hardship in the UK, produce campaign materials, support protests and supporting Chagossian community projects such as the Chagos Islands Football Team.

Donations can be made in several other ways if you can not donate online:
1. Cheques can be paid over the counter at any HSBC.
2. Cheques can be posted to our treasurer Peri Batliwala (email Peri at peribat@yahoo.co.uk for her postal address).
3. Donations can be paid in online by any supporters here in UK or abroad who wish to support our work. The details you need to know for GB donations are:
Name of account: UKChSA
Branch sort code: 40 02 03
Account no: 81808583

For overseas donations you will also need these details:
IBAN no: GB21MIDL 40020381808583
Swift BIC: MIDLGB22
Branch address: HSBC, 176 Camden High St, London NW1 8QL

If you make a donation by any of the means above, please also drop an email to our treasurer Peri Batliwala at peribat@yahoo.co.uk with your name, the date of the transfer/donation and the amount.

Please do what you can – even small donations are critical for us. Your financial support will make all the difference.

Applying for funds

The UK Chagos Support Trust distributes money we raise to help individual Chagossians and groups. We have provided money to help repair homes, run events and organise sports teams.

If you are a Chagossian who wants to apply for funds, or a supporter who wants to apply for funds on behalf of a Chagossian, find out more here.

Write to your MP, MEP and/or the Foreign Secretary

The outrageous treatment of the Chagossians was kept quiet for many years and is only gradually becoming better known. It is therefore absolutely critical to tell those in power that you know, and that you care.

The best person to contact is your local MP. Write and tell them of your concerns about the treatment of the Chagossians and ask them to raise these directly with the Foreign Secretary. You can find out who your MP is and where to reach them at writetothem.com, and email or fax them directly for free. You can contact your MEP through the same site.

Or you can write directly to the Foreign Secretary, at:

The Rt Hon Philip Hammond

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
LONDON
SW1A 2AY

Don’t forget to let us know what response you receive!

Write letters to your local paper or a national newspaper

Letters in newspapers can be a very effective way of raising awareness of an issue to a large audience. They can also bring home to policy-makers that people care.

You could write either to local or national newspapers. Check their websites for the email address for readers letters.

The plight of the Chagossians sadly appears very rarely in the media. But Diego Garcia is often in the news because of the US military base on the island. Every time a newspaper reports Diego Garcia, why not remind the journalist or editor that the inhabitants have been removed? Or when a news report mentions the governments professed commitment to human rights, why not write a letter on the gross violation of human rights in the case of the Chagossians? The more publicity there is on the plight of the Chagossians, the better, and the more pressure this puts on policy-makers to act justly.

Raise awareness in your local community

Many supporters of the Chagossians are already members of other local campaigning or fundraising groups, such as Oxfam, Christian Aid, World Development Movement, CND, Cafod, Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and many others. In your activities in these groups, why not also raise awareness, raise funds or take action in support of the Chagossians? Its easy to dedicate an evening or part of an event or to distribute materials to others explaining their plight.

For those who live in the Crawley area

The hundreds of Chagossians living in Crawley particularly need the support of local people. Get in touch with the community groups in Crawley, the Diego Garcian Society and the Chagos Island Community Association. You can also write to local papers, MPs, MEPs and councillors.