The Deal

Chagos in Five Minutes


Deportation, lies, broken promises and severe poverty. The abuse suffered by the Chagossian people has been so great  it can be overwhelming to read through it all. With that in mind, we’ve put together a 5 minute summary on the horrifying half century of human rights violations inflicted upon the Chagossian people. Also have a look at how you can support the Chagossian campaign for justice.


Donate to support our work campaigning and in the community and sign the petition calling for return now.


  • In 1966, the US and UK Governments came to an agreement which allowed the US military the use of Diego Garcia, the largest of the Chagos Islands, for 50 years.


  • As part of this agreement the UK agreed to remove all Chagossians from their homeland dismissing them as “Man Fridays” and “Tarzans”of “obscure origin.



  • This deal is due to roll over this year until 2036. Extension must only be permitted with US support for Chagossian return

Broken Promises


  • Promised payments to build a new life arrived 5 years late. Many were forced into debt and extreme poverty, whilst rampant inflation severely reduced the compensation’s real value. The little money they eventually received often just paid down debts.



Marine Protected Area?!
  • In 2010 a Marine Protected Area was created around the Chagos Islands. Documents released by Wikileaks proved this was a deliberate attempt to undermine the Chagossian return campaign.


  • Enviromentalists, including Ben FogleGreenpeace and the Green Party have been deeply critical of the way the MPA was created.

  • A programme of forced deportation concluded in 1973. From the late sixties onwards, Chagossians who left the islands for medical treatment or to visit relativesfound they were not allowed to return. Families were separated for years.


Legal Struggles
Return 2017
  • In 2000, the High Court judged the eviction of Chagossians was illegal. In 2004, the Government used Royal Prerogative to quash this decision, bypassing Parliament and the legal system. The law was enacted on election day to avoid media scrutiny.


  • Royal Prerogative was also used to approve the original deportation-meaning Chagossians’ exile was never approved by Parliament or a UK court.


  • In 2007 the Court of Appeal rejected the order and the Government's argument that the Royal Prerogative is immune from scrutiny. However this was narrowly overturned on by the House of Lords in 2008.

  • Chagossians brought their struggle to the Supreme Court on 22nd June 2015. However the decision was upheld.

  • On 16th November 2016 despite cross party disagreement including the All Party Parliamentary Group, the Government released a statement planning to extend the lease of the US airbase and rejecting the possibility of return.

  • The Government has continued to spend millions fighting court cases to prevent Chagossian return.




  • An independent study into Chagossian return home has found a resettled Chagossian society could be economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.


  • Despite commissioning the study the Government chose to ignore it in November 2016 and again stand by their refusal to grant a right of return to the Chagossians or even any smaller scale pilot scheme to some of the presently uninhabited islands.

  • We need to pressure the new Parliament and Government, whoever they may be, to finally give Chagossians a measure of justice, and to do it now (see Ben Fogle’s interview for more details).


  • For more on the campaign for justice into 2017 and what you can do, see here.

There’s a lot more detail to dig into if you're interested.


Read our full breakdown of the history of the Chagos Islands for a really in-depth account.


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