• Stefan Donnelly

An "Opportune moment" for return: Dr Paul Monaghan MP

Dr Paul Monaghan MP, speaking on Chagos at an event at SOAS in 2015

Help to go home. Clarity on citizenship issues. The right to determine their future.

These are the simple rights SNP MP Paul Monaghan has called for in a recently published article in political journal Politics First. The full text can be read on Mr Monaghan's personal website.

Dr Mongahn, who last year led a Parliamentary debate on the Chagos Islands, opens the article with a brief summary of the traumatic recent history of the Chagossian people and how their exile came to be. The “obvious racism” involved in the decision to deport Chagossians is decried, as is the UK's Government's total failure to adequately compensate Chagossians during their time in exile.

The frequent claims of the Government, that “full and final” compensation was provided, is rightly dismissed in the article. “Derisory” payments of “less than £3000 per person” were only awarded many years after the deportation, when a great many Chagossians' had already fallen into severe debt owing directly to the deportation. Dr Monaghan also makes the extremely important point, yet to be addressed, that those Chagossians deported to the Seychelles have never received a penny of compensation.

Although the article argues strongly for Chagossians' right to return, Mr Monaghan also makes clear that return must be on fair terms. He is yet to be convinced current Government proposals offer this. That return would initially only be for a “trail period” and would be “without the right to abode,” he argues, means Chagossians face “an insecure future.”

The article comes at what Dr Monaghan himself acknowledges is an “opportune time.” The UK-US agreement on the use of Diego Garcia is set to expire at the end of this year. UK Chagos Support Association and the Chagos Islands All-Party Parliamentary Group, of which Dr Monaghan is a member, have long called for the any extension to be conditional on mutual UK-US support for Chagossian return.

As Dr Monaghan concludes his article, anything less than full justice for the Chagossian people “diminishes us all.”

The Chagossian community and all its supporters would like to extend our thanks to Dr Paul Monaghan MP for his tireless work since his election last year to support the Chagossian fight for justice.

#Chagos #Return #Chagossian #SNP #PaulMonaghan

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