Chagos Article in Journe Afrique
Last month the Paris based news outlet Journe Afrique reflected on the Chagos case with a piece discussing ‘Les Chagos ou le difficile retour au pays natal’.(in French)
Written by Rémi Carayol, the report focuses on the work of Olivier Bancoult and the Chagos Refugee Group, emphasising the ongoing struggle between the organisation and the British government over Chagossian repatriation. Carayol identifies ‘deux terrains distincts et parfois concurrents’ leading towards Chagossian return, with Mauritian sovereignty claims in particular dividing the expelled Chagossian community.
Alongside this, Carayol follows the legal battle between the British government and the exiled Chagossians in the wake the recently established Chagos Marine Protected Area. The impact of the December 2012 European Court ruling in favour of the reserve was summarised in a quote by Franco-Mauritian Nobel Prize winner J. M. G. Le Clézio, as ‘une honte et un déni de justice de l’époque contemporaine’. Carayol later references ‘le véritable objet de ce projet’ uncovered by Wikileaks, suggesting the reserve was created as a preventative measure against Chagossian resettlement.
The report goes on to highlight the recent court victories in favour of the Chagossians, notably the March 2015 ruling declaring the CMPA illegal. Carayol later pays attention to the enhanced media attention the cause has received in the last year, emphasising the influence of social media and quoting Bancoult in his quest for modernity after resettlement; ‘Nous ne voulons pas nous retrouver dans les Chagos des années 1960. On veut y retourner à l’heure d’Internet, de Twitter et de Facebook’.
The importance of the coming year is stressed, with reference to the pending renewal of the Diego Garcia base and the influence of leading law firms giving hope to the Chagossians for the future. All in all the report is thorough and thoughtful, a good read for our French speaking readers, covering the most important political and legal breakthroughs of the past few years.