Thanks are due to the Chagos Islands All-Party Parliamentary Group coordinator David Snoxell for the below summary. Special welcome to the two new members confirmed at this month's meeting, Lord Carrington and John Grogan MP.
The Chagos Islands (BIOT) APPG held its 72nd meeting on 13 February 2019. Members took note of Henry Smith's interventions concerning British citizenship for descendants of those born on the Chagos Islands in recent debates on Immigration and the Windrush Scheme. They decided to table Questions in both Houses on Chagos matters.
The Group considered correspondence between the Chairman and Lord Ahmad, the FCO Minister responsible for Chagos. They were pleased to note that the Minister saw re-engagement with Mauritius following the ICJ Advisory Opinion, as a priority in the light of the ideas put forward by the Group in its statement of 21 December. The Group decided to invite Lord Ahmad and his officials to discuss the international and human rights aspects of BIOT and the way forward as soon as the IJC result was known. Members took note of the Minister's standing invitation for APPG members to visit BIOT.
The APPG felt that it was also important for members to maintain contact with the Mauritian Government and meet the Mauritian High Commissioner in London. It was further agreed that the Chairman and Coordinator would discuss the policy issues with the US Embassy once the ICJ Opinion was known. This could be a precursor to a meeting with the US Ambassador which the Group had requested last July.
Members discussed the judgment of the Divisional Court on 8 February, dismissing the claims in the judicial review of the Government's decision on 16 November 2016 not to allow resettlement. This decision underlined the importance of the APPG's purpose which is to help bring about a resolution of the issues concerning the future of the Chagos Islands (BIOT) and of the Chagossian people.
Two new members, Lord (Rupert) Carrington (Cross-bench) and John Grogan (Labour) have joined the group, bringing membership to 53.
The next meeting will be at 430pm on 24 April.