Chagossians launch US legal challenge

Image of US military base on Diego Garcia

Chagossians are launching legal action in the USA, calling for compensation for their 50 years of enforced exile and the suffering endured due to a lack of promised support.

The claim, which is led by Chagossians Solomon Prosper and Bernard Nourrice, seeks damages of up to $100,000 for each individual Chagossian under the US Foreign Claims Act, which requires the US Military to set up claims commissions to handle damage claims by foreign citizens.

The Chagossians’ lawyer, Dr. Jonathan Levy, notes: “The damage claims are quite reasonable given the intense sufferings of the Chagossians who as a people were utterly devastated by their deportation. Even though there are several thousand Chagossians, their claims are capped at $100,000 each. The comparable US base at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, costs the United States approximately $70 million per year to lease, the Chagossians who are the real owners of Diego Garcia Atoll are seeking only a small fraction of the back rent.”

The compensation proposed in the campaign relates to emotional distress and property right abuse suffered by Chagossians, and if successful Chagossians could expect the payment to come from the US military.

The claim can be read in full on Mr Levy's website.

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