Lisette Talate dies aged 70

We are saddened to learn of the death of Lisette Talate, who died on Wednesday at the age of 70.

Lisette, who was born on Chagos, was a prominent and inspirational figure in the Chagossian community in Mauritius and in the campaign to be allowed to return to the islands. She was able to take part in a short visit to the islands in 2006 – the first time she had been back since she and hundreds of others were evicted 33 years earlier. Sadly she did not live long enough to see justice done.

Olivier Bancoult, chairman of the Chagos Refugees Group, sent this statement:

“It’s with great sadness that we announce the death of Mrs Lisette Talate, our vice president and elected members of Chagossian Welfare Fund Board.

Mrs Talate had been involved in the struggle since her arrival in Mauritius in 1973. Together with Charlesia Alexis and others, she has been a famous example, having participated in several hunger strikes, demonstrations and been arrested by police.

Our community has lost one of our unforgotten personalities who has contributed to the struggle of the Chagossians. She was nominated among one thousand women for the Peace Nobel Prize, and had been decorated by the Prime Minister last year as Members of Star and Key of the Indian Ocean.

Our condolences to all members of her family together with our Chagos Refugees Group members and our Chagossian community.”

Lisette’s funeral was held yesterday in Cassis, Mauritius.

Read L’Express’s reports here and here, the Chagos Refugees Group’s report here and Le Mauricien’s report here.

The longer the British government delays in bringing justice to the Chagossians, the fewer will be left to see their homeland again.

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