Chagos raised at Prime Ministers Questions: Cameron & Obama to discuss return
Yesterday in Parliament the Prime Minister was directly challenged to end Chagossian exile, and raise the issue with his US President Barack Obama on his upcoming state visit. See right for a (slightly low-quality) recording of the Prime Minister's comments.
Henry Smith, MP for Crawley and Vice-Chair of the Chagos Islands All-Party Parliamentary Group, spoke up during Prime Minister’s Questions to ask David Cameron to “raise the case for US support for Chagossian return.” He cited the independent feasibility study into Chagossian return as further evidence the time was right for the Government to begin a resettlement programme.
You can read Henry Smith’s full question and the Prime Minister’s response on Parliament’s website.
Positively, Mr Cameron did confirm that he would raise this issue with President Obama during his upcoming State Visit (which begins on Friday). He also acknowledged the work of Mr Smith in service of his many Chagossian constituents in Crawley.
No further commitments were made by Mr Cameron, however, other than to say that:
“the National Security Council and the Cabinet have been looking at the situation of the Chagos islanders and reviewing all the options for how we can help with their future. Those discussions have taken place and obviously we need to come to a conclusion about the best way forward.”
The answer seems to suggest no decision has yet been reached, so we must continue to press UK and US decision makers to reach the only just possible conclusion: support for Chagossian return. Why not tell the US ambassador to the UK that it is time for justice? Or use our template letter to write to your MP?
The Prime Minister is of course quite right that the resettlement of those Chagossian who wish to return does not end the UK’s responsibility to the Chagossian people. It would, however, end a terrible chapter in the history of the Chagossian people and indeed the UK itself.