On Thursday last week, in the small backroom of South London's unassuming, plant-filled Global Justice Now headquarters, Sabrina Jean, Chair of Chagos Refugee Group UK, worked to elucidate her struggle. Born in exile, in the aftermath of her parent's expulsion from their home in the Chagos Islands, Sabrina Jean told a vast audience in Oval of her family's story.
This event organised by the UK Chagos Support Association, Let Us Return: The Story of the Chagos Islanders, sought to inform and galvanise support from the students, and members of the public packed into the conference room.
Over the course of the event, it became clear that as a life filled with affliction, poverty and injustice, Sabrina's story echoed all too familiarly, that of the hundreds of other Chagossians. Sabrina weaved earnestly through outlining the current case of the Chagos Islanders with the harsh legacy she faces, as a direct result of the political injustice. Extortionate visa fees and NHS charges, for which she has to work a myriad of jobs to fund, are issues that just scratch the surface of her struggles, and those of her fellow Chagos Islanders.
Kinnari Bhatt, a lawyer, PHD fellow and social activist answered pertinent and zealous questions from audience members, about the legal case, and hope for the Chagos Islander's case. Leaving the event, audience members stood in the street, animatedly discussing the case, and ways in whcih they could help.
This was the first in a series of events UK Chagos Support Association is organising to promote the fight for justice Chagossians continue to pursue. as it reaches a pivotal moment. If you are interested in helping us organise at event, please do get in touch.