Corbyn & Thornberry: Commonwealth meeting chance to 'right historic wrong' of Chagos Isl
On the eve of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn directly called on the government to deliver justice for Chagossians, speaking on BBC's The Andrew Marr Programme this morning.
The Labour leader stated that:
"Britain's government must recognise that what Britain did to the Chagos Islanders was wrong and immoral. Put it right, and give them their right to return."
He added that he was confident "this would come up" at the meeting.
Meanwhile, writing in The House magazine, Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thorberry called on the Prime Minister to "correct the historic wrong done by our country to the people of the Chagos Islands," and identified the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGUM) meeting as a good forum to raise this issue.
The Shadow Foreign Secretary also urged a "partnership" approach to resolving disputes amongst Commonwealth nations, referencing the upcoming International Court of Justice case between Mauritius and the UK over the sovereignty status of the Chagos Islands.
The Labour manifesto at the last election committed the party to restoring Chagossians' right to return to their homeland. So Ms Thornberry's and Mr Corbyn's support is not a surprise, but it was positive to see the issue raised ahead of the meeting of this important forum.
As we've reported previously, Chagossians' citizenship status can be complex, complicated and unclear. But almost all Chagossians - whether living in Mauritius, the UK or the Seychelles - are citizens of the Commonwealth. Let's hope their needs get the attention they deserve at they deserve as Commonwealth leaders come together.