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  • Stefan Donnelly

Lord Eric Averbury, Vice-Chair of Chagos Islands All-Party Group, dies aged 87

Sad news that after a lifetime of vigerous campaigning, Lord Avebury (Eric Lubbock) has passed away aged 87. The Liberal Democrat peer co-founded the Chagos Islands All-Party Parliamentary Group with Jeremy Corbyn back in 2008 and has been one of the campaign's most loyal, dedicated and enthusiastic supporters. He had served as Vice-Chair of the Group since its creation.

Even in his later years, often beset by ill-health, his commitment to the casue did not waver. It speaks volumes that one of his final contributions in the House of Lords late last year was to press the Government on pushing ahead with Chagossian resettlement.

The Chagossian campaign for justice was a real priority for Lord Avebury. Eric was though a life-long campaigner for human rights, with a political career that straddled an incredible 7 decades. You can read more of his inspiring life story in this Guardian Obituary.

You can also read poginant account of the peer's final years, months and even days on his personal blog.

Everyone at UK Chagos Support Association would like to add our tribute to the many

others that have been paid to Lord Avebury . He was a hugely important in our work supporting the Chagossian campaign for justice. In addition always treated our volunteers with the same kindness, enthusiasm and whole-hearted support he brought to all his work.

The Chagossian campaign for justice has lost a powerful ally, but anything we achieve in the future will be in considerable part due to the efforts of Lord Avebury. We sent our sincerest condolences to his friends and family.

We have recieved further tributes from the role family of Chagossians and their supporters, which demonstrate the real affection and admiration in which Lord Avebury was rightly held. We will reprint just a few of these below.

Sabrina Jean, Chairperson of Chagos Refugee Group in the UK (CRG UK)

"Lord Avebury dedicated his life to campaigning against human rights abuses. He was a great supporter of the Chagossians cause, he will be sorely missed. UK CRG Members and all the Chagossians Community send their deepest sympathy to his family”

David Snoxell, Coordinator of the Chagos Islands All-Party Parliamentary Group since its formation. With Jeremy Corbyn and Lord Avebury, Mr Snoxell was instrumental in setting up the Group.

"The death of Lord Avebury is a great loss to the Chagossian cause which he

campaigned for over many years. In October 2008 he asked me to help establish a

Chagos Islands All-Party Parliamentary Group, and then called the first meeting. He

declined to take the chairmanship, saying he was too old and that Jeremy Corbyn

would be best placed to take it on."

"But he accepted to be a vice-chairman. Eric was a great Parliamentarian with shrewd, penetrating and perceptive drafting skills. He was persistent in exposing the myths and deceptions of governments in letters to ministers, Questions and debates. He did much to hold successive

governments to account over the treatment of the Chagossians and the failure to

rectify this on-going human rights violation. It is very sad that he did not live to see a

successful outcome to the Chagossian cause."

Celia Whittaker, founder member and former Chairperson of UK Chagos Support Assocaition

"The Chagossians have lost a good and true friend. He epitomised

everything a politician should be - a strong sense of public service,

justice and fair play, and support for the underdog. Not enough of

his ilk at Westminster any more! My deepest sympathy to his

family and friends on the loss of someone who strove to leave this

world a better place than he found it."

Iain Orr, Retired Foreign Office Diplomat and long-time adviser to the Chagossian people

"Lord Avebury was the the staunchest of campaigners for justice for the Chagossians. He has, of course, a long record of campaigning on many human rights and other political causes.

During his long period as a very active member of the House of Lords he must have asked more questions per year and spoken in more debates than any other member."

#LordAvebury #APPG #ChagosIslandsAPPG

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