President Allen Vincatassin: Chagossian return needs to happen soon
Allen Vincatassin, a Chagossian community leader elected President-in-exile in 2011, has spoken with 24 hour news channel RT about the community's ongoing struggle to win return to their homeland. He encourages British citizens to lobby their MPs to tell them its time to back a Chagossian return programme.
Speaking on the current affairs programme Going Underground, Mr Vincatassin explained the history of how Chagossians came to be exiled and his hopes that, with UK government support, they could return in the very near future.
"We had no choice, we were just dumped on the wharf...no housing, no jobs, no nothing," Mr Vincatassin explained, adding that compensation received in the 1980s was "not enough to cover incurred debts" which had built up in the decades since their deportation. as Chagossians struggled in exile
Turning his attention to the future, he calls for a return programme to begin "very soon," following a long-running UK government policy review, which has already concluded that return is "practically feasible." A decision on whether to support a return programme is now expected before the end of the year.
“British people can press their MPs, write to the Government and say that Chagossians should be given their fundamental rights as fellow British citizens,” he continues. You can download a template letter you can send to your MP here.
Asked about allegations that Diego Garcia had been used as a "black site," Mr Vincatassin admits Chagossians would "not be happy" if that was the case, but there is "nothing they can do." The community's focus, he suggests, is on "our right to return."