Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chagos Islanders Lose Right to Return

Britain's the House of Lords has overturned a lower court ruling that would have allowed displaced Chagossian people to return to their homes in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

Hengride Permel, who represents the Chagos Islands Community Association, said the Britain missed "a chance ... to right a wrong ... it is a shameful day for the government."

The Chagos Islanders plight to return is hardly covered in the mainstream media. It is a story of brutal imperialism and war mongering that implicates Britain, and of course, the United States.

In the 1960s and 1970s Britain used force to remove the Chagossian people from their homes in and around the largest Chagos Island called Diego Garcia.

The move came after Britain leased Diego Garcia to the US. Britain also allowed the US to build a navy and air base.

The vast majority of displaced Chagossians were settled into slums in Mauritius.

In 2007 the British High Court ruled that the Chagossian people were wrongfully expelled and that they should have the right to return.

Today's House of Lords decision, the highest court of appeal in Britain, sets the High Court decision aside.

The decision was in large part based on the British government's argument that the right of return would bridge security because the US uses Diego Garcia to launch military operations to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The House of Lords decision confirms that Britain (along with the US) have condemned the Chagossian people to permanent and inhumane exile.

See "Stealing a Nation, A Special Report by John Pilger" (2006) for critical background coverage. Also, you can get more information from the UK Chagos Support Association.

Onward!

Picture Credit

6 comments:

Dade said...

What an outrage!

This is the first I have heard of the Chagossians. There is no moral justification for this, and it doesn't seem that the House of Lords even considered morality. Disgusting!

And, of course, we can be sure the hardline Israelis will point to this decision and use it as justification to keep grinding the Palestinians under their boots.

Shameful.

Ridwan said...

It is disgusting indeed Dade. A lot of lives have been, and are being, destroyed by the situation.

Pilger is about the only journalist who regularly covers the story.

There is some suspicion that the US has one of its black site prisons on Diego Garcia.

Peace Dade,
Ridwan

GiGi - The Shy Giraffe said...

just like dade, this is the first time i heard of chagossian. see, now you got me googling for them. i known of diego as US base, but never realised it was under brit.

always learn something new from you my brother =:O)

Ridwan said...

Thank you Gigi for looking in, I am learning too my sista.

There is so much to know.

Peace sista,
Ridwan

niteflyer said...

hey ridwan,
just looking in after a long time...

thanks for this post...news to me too. the house of lords (scoff, cough) indeed!

in your words, "onward", and people first!
-niteflyer

Ridwan said...

Hello Niteflyer:

Good to hear from you my sista. Your presence here is always appreciated!

Yeah I am scoffing with ya for sure, 'house of lords' ... what a joke.

I trust you are well :0)

Peace sista,
ridwan