Allen Vincatassin, leader of the Diego Garcia and Chagos Islands Council, recently gave a short interview to RT’s current affiars magazine programme. In an interview segment, Mr Vincatassin expresses his disappointment that the UK government missed last year’s opportunity to start a return programme for the Chagossian community.
He also rightly noted that even with the continuing presence of the US military base, Chagossians could return to Diego Garcia. Military facilities on Diego Garcia take up less than half of the total area of the island. And there also several formerly inhabited other islands in the Chagos Archipelago which were also considered viable for Chagossian resettlement in an exhaustive independent report completed by KPMG.
In the interview, which you can see in full above, Mr Vincatassin also briefly discusses a government-funded programme of visits to the Chagos Islands. Last month it was annouced these visits were scheduled to take place later this year.
Some Chagossians, including Chagos Refugee Group leader Oliver Bancoult, have said they will boycott the trips. They cite the fact the trip will be funded by the £40m ‘support package,’ announced as part of the decision not to support Chagossian resettlement taken by the UK government last year. Some Chagossians have decided to oppose all cooperation with the support package.
For Chagossians who do wish to take part in the trip, the deadline for applying is 18 April. Applications can be made by contacting the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.