Oyez! Hear ye!

As we await a verdict from last month’s court case, please add your name to this petition on the Prime Minister’s website:

We believe that the forced expulsion of the Chagos Archipelago at the request of the USA for the sole purpose of establishing a military base on Diego Garcia to be a shameful episode in our countrys’ recent history.

Perhaps even more shamefully, the UK government now intends to stop the Chagossians from ever returning to their homes. To do this it will have to overturn or ignore two High Court Judgements allowing the Chagossians the right to return. This is in spite of Home Secretary Robin Cooks position of not contesting the decision to allow repatriation in 2000.

It seems the continuing ”War on Terror” allows for the continued theft of these Islands, simply for their strategic position in relation to the Gulf and any future campaigns.

It only takes a moment and, while it might not change the world, it adds to the pressure, as this recent episode demonstrated. Sceptics might consider these musings before finding something better to do:

What use is signing a petition? Well, judging from the media coverage of the road pricing petition, some at least. I can’t claim to know how much effect a million or more signatures on the war crimes petition would have but I have to believe it also would have some – a kick in the grin for Mr. Blair, at least.

For cynicism, we might also say snobbery – since I suspect certain self-described ‘activists’ look down on such conventions as petitions on the grounds that they are naive and ineffectual compared with other forms of action and protest. Perhaps so and, yes, there is always the need to consider the best use of one’s time and resources but signing a petition takes a couple of minutes. So go ahead and sign anyway – you’ll still have time to D-lock yourself to the gates of Faslane. An activist should be receptive to as many legitimate forms of action as possible and, to borrow a snooker term, signing a petition is a shot to nothing.

So get clicking

3 Comments

  1. Disillusioned kid says:

    On a tangenitally related note, Mauritius is “threatening” to leave the Commonwealth.

  2. UK Chagos Support says:

    Only marginally clearer cut than Blair’s “admission” to David Frost that Iraq was a “disaster”… :)

    Not exactly news, either. But “newsworthy” nonetheless – so good to see it picked up on newswires, if only to keep the principal injustice in the vague vicinity of the headlines.

    And whatever one’s view of Mauritian policy, it remains British policy that the islands will revert to Mauritius once they’re no longer “required” for “defence purposes”…

  3. Vincent says:

    A week after the Mauritian newspaper “Week-End” first reported on the Mauritian government’s plans to leave the Commonwealth and take the Chagos issue to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the British government responded by amending its declaration recognizing as compulsory the jurisdiction of the ICJ under Article 36, paragraph 2, of the ICJ Statute. This declaration now reads, in relevant part:

    UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND

    5 July 2004

    “1. The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland accept as compulsory ipso facto and without special convention, on condition of reciprocity, the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, in conformity with paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Statute of the Court, until such time as notice may be given to terminate the acceptance, over all disputes arising after 1 January 1974, with regard to situations or facts subsequent to the same date, other than:
    (…)
    (ii) any dispute with the government of any other country which is or has been a Member of the Commonwealth;”
    (…)

    (Amendments in bold. Source: http://www.icj-cij.org/icjwww/ibasicdocuments/ibasictext/ibasicdeclarations.htm.)

    This Article 36(2) declaration replaced a previous declaration which was notified by the UK on 1 January 1969 and which read, in relevant part:

    UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND

    1 January 1969

    “I have the honour, by direction of Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, to declare on behalf of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland that they accept as compulsory ipso facto and without special convention, on condition of reciprocity, the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, in conformity with paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Statute of the Court, until such time as notice may be given to terminate the acceptance, over all disputes arising after the 24th of October 1945, with regard to situations or facts subsequent to the same date, other than:
    (…)
    (ii) disputes with the Government of any other country which is a Member of the Commonwealth with regard to situations or facts existing before the 1st of January, 1969.
    (…)

    United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations.
    New York, 1 January 1969.
    (Source: 654 UNTS 335.)

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