Justice delayed…

In just over a week, 631 people put their names to our petition urging the Prime Minister to drop the appeal to the Lords against the islanders’ right to return. He didn’t.

On Tuesday we learned that the Foreign & Commonwealth Office is pursuing the appeal, despite the the Lords’ demand that it pays the islanders’ costs as well as its own. The legal battle against the islanders has already cost the FCO more than £2m.

As usual, the decision came at the latest possible moment. The FCO tells us the case is unlikely to be heard before the spring.

A busload of islanders from Crawley came to Downing Street on Saturday to deliver a letter asking Gordon Brown to end the injustice now. Channel 4 News came too – you can watch their report here.

Meanwhile the islanders continue to suffer, as detailed in this excellent article from The Times.

Hengride Permal of the Chagos Island Community Association said: “It’s like the Government is playing a game with us and we are tired of it. But we will never give up.”

One vocal supporter of the islanders is David Snoxell, who was High Commissioner to Mauritius from 2000 to 2004. As the UK’s representative in the country where the bulk of the Chagossian exiles now live, Snoxell became all too familiar with the islanders’ plight – not least when they were protesting at the gates of his house. In a recent letter to The Times he said that the Government’s decision to pursue the appeal “puts us on a par with those countries we condemn for lesser human rights violations”.

But the Government is approaching the end of the road. The islanders are already looking seriously resettlement, with a study underway with funding from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust.

In a lecture given by Snoxell at Bristol University on Wednesday, he said: “This 42 year old saga of deceit, perfidy and human rights violations is drawing to a close… Perhaps next year we may hope that, once the legal process has been exhausted, HMG will purge this shocking stain on the UK’s reputation.”

5 Comments

  1. supporter says:

    Gordon Brown said “…this is my pledge to the British people: I will not let you down. I will stand up for British values and I will always stand up for you.” The Chagossians are British passport holders and would like to see the Prime Minister translate his words into actions. This is a dreadful situation and should be speedily rectified.

  2. kicksave says:

    I have to say that this is the first I’ve heard of the plight of the Chagossians. I designed aircraft for Lockheed and in our designs we always considered Diego Garcia as a base for our extended range aircraft. I never realized the horrible injustices that occurred to make it such.

    Best of luck in your fight. As proud as I am of my country, this is an embarrassment.

  3. Ian B says:

    I only learned recently about this, and as an Englishman I’m appalled and ashamed at the actions of my country, and even more horrified that the present government continues to sustain this injustice. It’s hard to think of a more unequivocal case- there is no doubt that this is a terrible wrong.

    As a libertarian I believe the fundamental human rights are those to a person’s life, liberty and property. Also as a libertarian I believe in small government and low taxes, but I would be more than happy for taxes levied upon me to be used to compensate the islanders and give them a fresh start in their homeland.

    I wish you all the best with your campaign and hope one day to read of a just settlement.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Much to my own dismay and shame, I have never heard of this until today (the day of the UK Court’s ruling). What a complete and total miscarriage of justice. Frankly, as an American, we hear of these things about our own government and, it’s no big surprise (we assume our representatives lie to us) but, THIS?!

    Why is there no international uproar?

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