The Chago and their right of return
Chagos Islands in focus ⬿

The Chago and their right of return

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John Ahni Schertow
June 29, 2007
 

Last month I posted an article about the Chago People, who were banished from their traditional homeland in 1973 by the British Government.

Since that time, the Chagos have been struggling to return to their homes. In fact, they’ve won several court cases affirming their right of return; however, each and every judgment has been appealed.

Fortunately, the most recent Judgment took things one step further, by preventing anyone from appealing the decision.

From Afrol News – Last month, the expelled people of the Chagos Islands, an archipelago claimed by Mauritius, thought they had achieved a breakthrough in their four-decade fight to return to the land that taken from them. The London High Court ruled that the 2,000 expelled islanders must be let to return. But a new Foreign Office appeal will delay the return for at least one year.

The Chagossians were tricked and forced away from their Indian Ocean island paradise during the 1960’s and 70s and the British colonial government leased the strategically placed archipelago to the US. In 1971, the Americans started constructing a marine base on the main island, Diego Garcia, and two years later, the last Chagossian was expelled.

The US base on Diego Garcia remains Washington’s key strategic location in the Indian Ocean and has been the point of departure for air raids against Afghanistan and Iraq and would have the same role in a possible attack on nuclear installations in Iran. Diego Garcia also is said to have a key role in the controversial transport and alleged torture of suspected terrorists.

Despite the continued strategic importance of Chagos, which legitimated its depopulation during the Cold War, Chagossians have a growing hope of being able to return to their islands. Evidence is mounting that their eviction was in breach of international law in the first place. (read the full story)

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