Chagossians lose UK Court challenge
The UK Divisional Court last week found against the Chagossians’ challenge to the UK government’s 2016 decision to refuse to support or permit the resettlement of their Chagos Islands homeland.
The case, brought by Chagos Refugees Group leader Olivier Bancoult and fellow native-born Chagossian Solange Horeau, challenged the legality of the government’s decision on a number of grounds. In particular, the challenge was made to the lawfulness of the failure to permit resettlement, the decision to offer a £40m ‘Support Package’ to the Chagossian community and the “implicit decision” not to remove the ban on Chagossians living in their homeland.
Mr Bancoult has stated it is “distressing” to hear the court’s verdict while “Chagossian human rights are still being violated.” But he added that nonetheless “even Chagossians are more determined to fight for their human rights” and highlighted that “we, the Chagossian community will never give up”.
Ms Horeau also stated that this was a “devastating blow” but said that “we will fight on to try to hold the UK Government to account for their shameful actions.”
In one notable part of the judgement, the Judges state “This is not a case where fundamental rights are affected... This is because this Court has to proceed on the basis that the legal rights which existed previously have been extinguished at least by the 2004 Orders.”
The 2004 Orders-in-Council referred to were a new legal ban on Chagossians living in their homeland, after a successful legal challenge to the original deportation. They were brought in without any Parliamentary vote or scrutiny, and effectively exiled Chagossians for a second time. It’s shameful that these orders can still be thought to “extinguish” Chagossian human rights.
Everyone at UK Chagos Support Association sends our respect, sympathy and admiration to all involved in the long legal struggle for justice. We know the fight does not end here and we must all continue to support the Chagossian people in their efforts to win the simple, fundamental right to live in their homeland.