UN to vote on Chagos case on Wednesday

UN General Assembly

On Wednesday the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will vote on a resolution which states that the UK must abandon the administration of the Chagos Islands as rapidly as possible.

The vote comes after the judgement of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in February, which concluded the creation of the British Indian Ocean Territory (the formal UK government name for the Chagos Islands) was illegal, as it involved the UK government detaching the islands from Mauritius before granting Mauritius independence.

The deportations Chagossians suffered in the years immediately after the creation of the British Indian Ocean Territory, and the consequences which still affect the community today, featured prominently in the ICJ hearings. One Chagossian survivor of the deportation even speaking powerfully about her experience via video link during the hearings.

The Mauritian government has pledged to allow "Mauritian nationals, including those of Chagossian origin," to settle in the Chagos Islands, if it gains control of the Chagos Islands.

The UK government recently stated that it "does not agree" with the conclusion of the ICJ, which it notes issued only a non-binding advisory opinion. In a written statement to Parliament, Ministers also argue they are committed to supporting the Chagossian community where they live now, citing a £40m support package promised in 2016. The UK government currently does not support allowing Chagossians to return to their homeland.

Part of the ICJ judgement advised the UN General Assembly to start making preparations to develop a return programme for Chagossians keen to resettle their homeland.

UK Chagos Support Association believes that as national government representatives prepare to vote on the resolution on Wednesday, they must recognise the priority needs to be allowing Chagossians to return to their homeland, and to do everything possible to repair the damage caused by half a century of exile.

Chagossians themselves must also have the final say of the future of their homeland, on all issues including future sovereignty. We urge all parties to speak directly with the community as soon as possible.

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