The UK Labour Party have confirmed that, if they form the next government, they will restore Chagossians right to return to their homeland. This would reverse a decision taken by the previous Conservative government not to support a return programme, after the conclusion of a three-year policy review. This is the first time a major UK party has formally backed Chagossians right to return to their homeland. Not all party manifestos have yet been published, and we hope other pa
The government's shameful decision to oppose Chagossian return to their homeland last November came with an unexpected caveat. An offer of £40m for Chagossian community projects over 10 years, in the UK, Mauritius, Seychelles and elsewhere.
This was not, as was widely reported, an offer of compensation. Rather it was money committed to the still somewhat vague aims of improving Chagossian access health care services, employment and social services.
The offer was unexpecte
In this Guest Blog Chagos All-Party Parliamentary Group Coordinator David Snoxell, also a former High Commissioner to Mauritius, explores 20 "myths, mantras and platitudes" which British government officials and others have used to oppose Chagossians' right to return to their homeland over the years. As with all guest blogs, Mr Snoxell's views are his own and aren't necessarily the view of UK Chagos Support Association. Chagos myths, mantras and platitudes, 1966-2016 1. The I
50 years ago the Chagossian Community were forced into exile by the UK Government to enable the construction of a US airbase on Diego Garcia. The 50 year agreement between the US and UK comes to its end on December 30 of this year. However, on Wednesday 16 November, the Government made the decision not to go ahead with a resettlement scheme that would have allowed a number Chagossians to return to their islands. The agreement will roll on for another 20 years without the pres
The Chagos Islands All-Party Parliamentary Group has issued a statement following the government's failure to support Chagossians to return to their homeland this week. The All-party Group issued the statement after meeting with the Defence, Foreign Office and International Development Ministers to discuss resettlement. The meeting took place after the sudden annoucement that the government would not back resettlement earlier that day. The following day several group members
Two years of waiting today came to end. The Government announced that they will not be going ahead with a pilot resettlement scheme that would have allowed two hundred Chagossians to return to their islands for a trial period of two years. The decision has truly rocked the Chagossian community. Many were too stunned to comment, others made clear that the fight is not over. In a written statement, Sir Alan Duncan MP said the decision was made “on the grounds of feasibility, de
Below is a summary of the latest meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Chagos Islands, provided as usual by the group's voluntary coordiantor David Snoxell. Our thanks to him and the group members for their continued work holding the government to account on their responsibilities to the Chagossian people. Coordinator's Summary of 12 October meeting of the Chagos Islands All-Party Parliamentary Group The Chagos Islands (BIOT) All-Party Parliamentary Group held i
Allen Vincatassin, a Chagossian community leader elected President-in-exile in 2011, has spoken with 24 hour news channel RT about the community's ongoing struggle to win return to their homeland. He encourages British citizens to lobby their MPs to tell them its time to back a Chagossian return programme. Speaking on the current affairs programme Going Underground, Mr Vincatassin explained the history of how Chagossians came to be exiled and his hopes that, with UK governmen
Chagos Refugee Group leader Oliver Bancoult attended a meeting of senior Mauritian officials and politicians with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. This was a historic meeting, as it was the first time Mr Johnson had met with anyone from the Chagossian community, and came ahead of a decision on whether to support Chagossian return to their homeland, expected in the next few months. Olivier Bancoult expressed the pride the Chagossain community feels to be involved in discuss
Bishops from across the Indian Ocean have come together to call for Chagossians to be allowed to return to their homeland. In a major and powerful intervention, the Bishops condemn the "brutality" of their removal and call for the authorities who deported them to facilitate their return. Referencing Pope Francis' declaration that this is the "year of mercy," they call for an end to Chagossians' years of suffering and exile. The backing of the Bishops is a big boost for Chagos
Following the influential UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) report calling on the UK government to back Chagossian return, Ministers have this week faced fresh pressure in Parliament to comply with the committee's recommendation. A few weeks ago the Committee released a report which called on the UK government to act now to “facilitate Chagossians return to their islands.” The report also criticised the ongoing “discriminatory restrictions” which mea
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN CERD) has called on the UK government to support Chagossians to return to their homeland, and to offer compensation of the community's years of suffering in exile. The long-established committee, made up of human rights experts from around the world, expressed “disappointment” that “no progress has been made” in removing “discriminatory restrictions” on Chagossians living on the islands. Concluding their analysi
As the UK government near a decision on whether to support a Chagossian return programme, the future of the US military facility on Diego Garcia, the largest Chagos Island, is also due to be decided at the end of this year. In the past government ministers have expressed "concern" about the possibility of a returned population living alongside the US military base. This, however, has been directly contradicted by ex-Assistant Secretary of State of Defense, Lawrence Korb. Mr K
The question of Chagossian return was raised in Parliament today, as UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed that "it will now fall to the next Prime Minister to make a decision [on whether to back Chagossian return]." Mr Hammond was responding to SNP MP Alan Brown's question, asked Mr Hammond to advise the new Prime Minister of the recent Supreme Court verdict which stated it may be "irrational, unreasonable or disproportionate" to deny Chagossians the right to return.
Kinnari Bhatt is Vice-Chair of UK Chagos Support Assocaition and is also a highly regarded schloar currently compeleting her PhD on issues related to Chagossian identity in exile. The views she expresses about the upcoming Supreme Court case are her own and not necessarily the settled view of UK Chagos Support Association. Within the Heart of Darkness, a glimmer of hope: An Unhappy Legacy of Colonial Injustice and the Implications of Chagossian return ‘He who commits injustic
Thanks to voluntary Chagos Islands All-Party Parliamentary Group Coordinator David Snoxell for the below summary. Please remember to write to your MP and ask them to sign the Motion calling for Chagossians to be given the right to return to your homeland. The Chagos Islands (BIOT) All-Party Parliamentary Group held its 8th AGM and 55th meeting on 8 June. The following officers were re-elected: Hon President, Jeremy Corbyn MP; Chairman, Andrew Rosindell MP; Vice Chairs: Barone
Last week in the Mauritian Parliament, Mauritian Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth was challenged by Leader of the Opposition Paul Berenger on the future of the the Chagos Islands. Mauritius claims sovereignty over the Islands, which remain a UK Overseas Territory. Britain has pledged to return the Chagos Islands to Mauritius when "no longer required for defense purposes." Sir Anerood provided details of a meeting he had recently attended with a British official on the futu
Thanks as ever to volunteer Chagos Islands All-Party Parliamentary Group Coordinator David Snoxell for providing the below summary of the latest meeting of the Chagos Islands All-Party Parliamentary Group. The Chagos Islands (BIOT) All-party Parliamentary Group held its 54th meeting on 13 April. The Group paid tributes to Lord Avebury who died on 14 February. He had founded the APPG in December 2008 and was its vice chairman. Members affirmed that Eric Avebury had done much
Labour’s Shadow Foreign Minister Catherine West today (12th April) spoke up to back Chagossian return to their homeland, as party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn watched on. This is the most direct indication yet that the Labour Party will back Chagossians’ ambitions to begin resettlement of their homeland as soon as possible. The full written record of the questions can be read here. “Will the Foreign and Commonwealth Office invest the money to recogn
Chagos Refugee Group Leader Oliver Bancoult is today (7 April) handing in a letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street calling on him to “show statesmanship” by ending Chagossians' exile. You can read Mr Bancoult's letter in full here. Chagossians have lived in exile since they were forcibly removed from their Chagos Islands homeland in the Indian Ocean in the early 1970s. Despite being British citizens, they were removed under UK Government order so a US