• Robin Sooklall and Stefan Donnelly

Chagos Refugee Group leader Oliver Bancoult meets UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson

Chagos Refugee Group leader Oliver Bancoult attended a meeting of senior Mauritian officials and politicians with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. This was a historic meeting, as it was the first time Mr Johnson had met with anyone from the Chagossian community, and came ahead of a decision on whether to support Chagossian return to their homeland, expected in the next few months.

Olivier Bancoult expressed the pride the Chagossain community feels to be involved in discussions around the future of the Chagos Islands, after almost 50 years of exile from their homeland.

During the discussions Mr Bancoult intervened to reassure Mr Johnson that there will be no security issues if Chagossians are supported to return to their islands. He added that there are hundreds of foreigners currently living and working on the Archipelago, largely as support staff for the US military base.

This rightly made the point to the Foreign Secretary that the UK and US's desire to maintain the military base on the Chagos Islands is no barrier to Chagossian return.

Let's hope Mr Johnson listens and we'll soon see confirmation that the UK government will at last end almost half a century of heartbreak for the Chagossian community by backing a return programme.

This report is based on a MBC French-language news story, which you can read here.

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