#ChagosIslanders denied right to return home | World news | The Guardian



Chagos Islanders denied right to return home | World news | The Guardian – The long-awaited decision – expected to cause enormous disappointment – follows more than 40 years of campaigning, court cases and calls for the UK to right a wrong committed by Harold Wilson’s Labour government.

Hundreds of Chagos islanders living in the UK and Mauritius have been waiting for an announcement for more than two years. But cost, economic viability and objections from the US military have been significant obstacles.

It is expected that the British government will provide a further package of compensation to the islanders and that the announcement will be accompanied by an official apology for the forced movement of 1,500 people. Half of the exiles have since died.


John Pilger – Stealing A Nation [2004] – ‘Stealing A Nation’ (2004) is an extraordinary film about the plight of the Chagos Islands, whose indigenous population was secretly and brutally expelled by British Governments in the late 1960s and early 1970s to make way for an American military base. The tragedy, which falls within the remit of the International Criminal Court as “a crime against humanity”, is told by Islanders who were dumped in the slums of Mauritius and by British officials who left behind a damning trail of Foreign Office documents.

Before the Americans came, more than 2,000 people lived on the islands in the Indian Ocean, many with roots back to the late 18th century. There were thriving villages, a school, a hospital, a church, a railway and an undisturbed way of life. The islands were, and still are, a British crown colony. In the 1960s, the government of Harold Wilson struck a secret deal with the United States to hand over the main island of Diego Garcia. The Americans demanded that the surrounding islands be “swept” and “sanitized”. Unknown to Parliament and to the US Congress and in breach of the United Nations Charter, the British Government plotted with Washington to expel the entire population.

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