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Chagos Islanders, forcibly removed 40 years ago, lose legal challenge to return

Monday, July 4th 2016 - 04:27 UTC
Full article 42 comments

The former residents of the Chagos Islands who were forcibly removed from their homeland more than 40 years ago have lost their legal challenge to return. Families left the Indian Ocean islands in the 1960s and 70s to make way for a US Air Force base on Diego Garcia, the largest of the group of islands. Read full article

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  • LEPRecon

    They were removed because they couldn't have survived on the Islands as there are NO fresh water sources.

    They were compensated for the move and they ACCEPTED the compensation.

    Oh and as for having Jeremy Corbin supporting the islanders they might as well give up.

    This is a man who believes that ISIS is just misunderstood.

    Jul 04th, 2016 - 09:39 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • pgerman

    @1

    So no fresh warter means no self-determination rights....

    Jul 04th, 2016 - 12:09 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • LEPRecon

    @2 pgerman

    No. No fresh water means they would die.

    These people were tennants, from Mauritius. They never owned the islands, and thus the rightful owners had every right to remove them, and by accepting the compensation money (which the UK was under NO obligation to pay them) they accepted their relocation.

    And the courts have agreed.

    The majority of those claiming to be Chagos islanders have never even set foot there.

    But I'm sure should the day arrive when the UK no longer has use for these islands then the 'Chagos' islanders can always club together to buy them.

    You should look up Diego Garcia on google maps. Once you've seen the islands you'll realise what a pipe dream these people have. It's basically a huge lagoon surrounded by a tiny amount of land.

    Jul 04th, 2016 - 02:11 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    @2 pgerman
    Right to life comes before anything else, self-determination is somewhat academic when you’re dying of thirst.

    If the British agree they can return, and why not, ultimately what do we care, they will then argue this carries with it a “duty of care” i.e. not to let them die of thirst, having allowed a “return”.

    If they had a viable plan to survive there, things might be different, but they don’t.

    Anyway according the IC judgment, Britain is supposed to consult Mauritius Gov on anything which will affect the territory after the British leave and it is handed over to them.

    Does anyone know their view on this?

    Are they prepared to accept the responsibility/liability of people trying to survive there?

    Jul 04th, 2016 - 03:38 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Juanweather

    @3 & 4

    Stupid way of thinking, UK not only had the money for the relocation of the inhabitants, but if it was in their interest of maintaining them they could have build a fresh water plant. Stupid way of thinking really!
    Uk had no interest in maintaining them and back then that was paramount not the right of selfdetermination. Period!

    Jul 04th, 2016 - 05:13 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • LEPRecon

    @5

    Why should the UK do that?

    These were tennants, plantation workers. They never owned so much as a blade of grass let alone any land.

    Tell me, would you sign over your land to someone who once worked for you just because they demanded it? Would you then also pay for them to live on that land for eternity?

    No sane person would.

    You would give them severance pay (compensation) and send them on their way, which is precisely what the UK did. They ACCEPTED the compensation. They agreed to it.

    They had the chance to go to the ICJ over 40 years but they didn't. Now their descendants think they can get money.

    Not going to happen, is it.

    Oh, and should the day come when the UK decides it no longer wants Diego Garcia then these people can buy it. They can then save up and build their own water purification plant....which isn't nearly as cheap or easy to operate as you try to make it sound.

    Jul 04th, 2016 - 05:37 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Juanweather

    @6

    Same line of thinking. As I said before selfdetermination is not paramount for the UK not now and not then. It all depends on what future benefit they can have rather the “people” a.k.a inhabitants (surely in this case they weren't people) choice.

    Jul 04th, 2016 - 06:30 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    @ 7 Juanweather

    Ah! You must be another bat-shit mad acolyte of TMBOA, she spoke just like you.

    Stuff the fact they were NOT an aboriginal species and thus entitled to live there but a bunch of usurpers just like the Spanish and Italians (not forgetting the Nazis) who now infest Argentina.

    Jul 04th, 2016 - 06:48 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Briton

    They lost, get over it,

    on the other hand==will they give back the money we gave them, no,

    Jul 04th, 2016 - 07:19 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Juanweather

    @8

    who mention argentina? what abt it? Now that you brought that up, argentina's mainland's not disputed NOT the case of the chagos islands & their past inhabitants. You're thinking some other thing probably....

    Jul 04th, 2016 - 07:20 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Briton

    Am I right in saying that none of these were kicked off, the island they were not even born there,

    Jul 04th, 2016 - 07:41 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Terence Hill

    7 Juanweather
    Your being deliberately obtuse, the tenants(Chagos Islanders) have a perfect right to exercise their right of self-determination within the bounds of their native country.
    So you have conceded that your opponents presentation is factually correct. “Thus, he who keeps silent is assumed to consent; silence gives consent. In law, the silence of a party implies his consent.. A maxim of crime and consent. qui tacet, consentit-lit. he who is silent agrees. Thus, who keeps silent consents; silence means consent; silent consent is same as expressed consent; consent by conduct is as good as expressed consent. This is an implied term in law....”
    SOMA'S DICTIONARY OF LATIN QUOTATIONS MAXIMS AND PHRASES
    A Compendium Of Latin Thought And Rhetorical Instruments For The Speaker Author And Legal Practitioner

    Jul 04th, 2016 - 09:23 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pete Bog

    No, the Chagos Islanders have had several generations born on the Islands since the 1700s .

    Check the gravestones around the churches on the Islands.

    It is irrelevant that they worked for an outside company. So did most of the Falkland Islanders prior to 1982 when the FIC owned most of the land, and was run from the UK.

    Why do folks think the FIG nationalised the FIC land after 1982?

    One of the Chagos islands has more rainfall than the UK receives-therefore water collection plants could easily be built.

    To put things into perspective, all of the Chagos Islands combined area is more than that of the UK.

    If half of the Islanders work for the USA, they'll have water there, they must have-there's a total of 3000 personnel and workers there.

    The Chagos Islanders managed to survive for over 100 years without dying of thirst.

    The myth about all the workers being born outside the Chagos Islands is as spurious as the equally farcical Malvinas Myth.

    Again, check the gravestones on the Islands.

    If they were born on the Islands they should return.

    The USA employ over 100o workers on Diego Garcia from the Phillipines. Chagos Islanders should be given those jobs.

    That takes care of a third to a half of the population .

    Also the last time the Islanders were offered compensation, they could not read what they were signing and were conned.

    But to make this crystal clear-the Mauritian government kept most of the compensation money-the Chagos Islanders did not receive much of it and were given slums with no water and electricity to live in, worse than the living conditions they had on the islands where they had with schools, general store and churches.
    Therefore the thieving Mauritian government should refund the British Taxpayer, they have swallowed the compensation, not the Chagos Islanders.

    Like it or lump it, the Chagos Islands Support Group will ensure justice prevails because these people are British.

    Jul 04th, 2016 - 09:47 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • LEPRecon

    @13

    There is a difference.

    The 'Chagos' islanders were imported workers. They didn't open so much as a blade of grass.

    Think of it this way.

    Suppose a man, in the 1700's, owns vast estates. He hires people from a nearby community to work the land. He builds them houses as it would be too expensive to have them commute every day.

    This goes on for generations, children of the workers continue working for the children of the landowner.

    Then in the 20 century the descendants of the original owner can no longer afford to keep the estates, so they sell it lock, stock and barrel to a new owner.

    The new owner has a different purpose in mind for the land so doesn't need the workers. So the new owner pays a local council to rehouse these people. The local council pockets the money, so the new owner in a fit of generosity pays compensation directly to the former tennants, which they accept.

    40 years later some of the descendants of the workers demand that the new owner hands over the estate to them AND pay for them to live there just because they or their parents just happened to be born there.

    Is that fair? Is that legal?

    No it isn't. And it also isn't legal in the case of the 'Chagos' islanders, who are Mauritians...just like their ancestors.

    Hence why their case has been thrown out by every court.

    Because if you could just demand to own land because either you or you parents just happened to be born there would cause all kinds of problems.

    You can't compare the FI to Diego Garcia.

    The people of the Falklands own the land. The Falklands are self sufficient when it comes to fresh water. Diego Garcia has never been self sufficient in regards to fresh water.

    If these people were allowed to live there they'd have to be rescued or they'd die of thirst. It's that simple.

    Jul 05th, 2016 - 11:36 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    @ 5 Juanweather
    Look brains, it is not quite as simple as dropping a de-salination plant on the beach. Even if you could shelter, power and maintain it, in one of the most remote places on earth. Can be difficult getting parts in the Gulf at times.

    The soils can no longer support either farming or grazing, hence the plantations failed and being very low lying coral atolls, most will be underwater within a few decades. Read the UN environmental survey report.

    As for self-determination, they are Mauritians and Mauritius has been independent since 1968.

    Unless you are talking about self-determination for Chagos, in which case you need to talk to the Mauritian Gov, I’m sure they will have something to say about “violating Territorial Integrity”.

    An argument you should know well.

    As far as I know, the Chagossians haven’t raised the issue of self-determination in any court case so far. It’s been about the money, then more money, then the “no return” clause in the contract they signed.

    It only seem to be the issue as far as dimwit Argys, with no idea of the real situation, are concerned. No change there then.

    What is “stupid thinking” here, is you thinking you can somehow make the British responsible for, you’re not even sure what.

    The Islands are at best barely capable of supporting human habitation at a subsistence level, no margin for error and getting less capable all the time.

    We could always “flying Nun” them over the Indian Ocean somewhere and say “there, repatriated”, probably be kinder than marooning them.

    Jul 05th, 2016 - 03:25 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Juanweather

    @15

    Sure. I know what you mean it's not like Saint Helena, Ascension, Tristan da Cunha, Montserrat, Gibraltar, British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, Pitcairn, Malvinas, Cayman, Bermuda, Anguilla, they do have fresh water. Chagos is in a whole different world (maybe in some other galaxy) were fresh water it's completely inaccesible.

    C'mon genius! you can do better than that. Don't underrestimate us, readers.

    Again UK had no will to support selfdetermination back then & chagossians had to take a one an only outcome “deal” - actually, it was the get out and I will pay you or I kick you out with no money-

    Plain and simple.

    Want to feel good with yourself by saying it was the other way around, fine by me but let me point out that you're making the fool of yourself.

    Jul 05th, 2016 - 06:58 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    @ 16 Juanwitless
    The difference, Brains, is that the Territories you list are HABITABLE, means people can survive in those places.

    In the Chagos, you can’t, and that is actually the issue here, unless of course you know of any evidence to the contrary, other than your divine intuition that is.

    Never let the truth get in the way of a good story, eh.

    I’m not arguing that what happened was right, the courts have agreed and awarded accordingly.

    The issue now is a “return”, which has f*ck all to do with “self-determination”, except in your fool’s paradise, and everything to do with “survival”.

    I see you have no answers for any points raised. No change there then.

    It is not really possible, to UNDER- estimate, dimwits like you.

    Jul 06th, 2016 - 03:36 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Terence Hill

    16 Juanweather
    After being shown that the Islanders never had any recognizable right under international law to title of the atoll. It logically follows that there cannot be a claim to 'self-determination' over property that you don't own. Regardless, all of the other territories have an accessible natural fresh water supply, so what is your point? The legal determinations in both UK domestic and Europe both do not support your claim.

    Jul 06th, 2016 - 03:47 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Juanweather

    @17

    man your dumb! bet you didn't pass high school.

    Again NO WILL FROM BRITAIN,

    The article is quite clear, but doesn't explain the context nor the consecuences of what britain did when expell them.

    Justice says that if chagossians go back NOW ON THEIR OWN they would die, of course you brainiac! who would?

    How do you think the other territories (all the remaining UK colonial enclaves) survive throughout history? Uk taxes you champ!

    Moreover, after 40 years of no interest in settle the island by leaving the remaining infrastructure to the abandonment and/or destroying it to build the actual US base.

    *UK PARAMOUNTING SELFDETERMINATION LIKE A BOSS*

    -for you to understand, it's sarcasm you Pig-wh*le-

    Jul 06th, 2016 - 07:43 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    So here the Argentine commenter is arguing for self-determination and the British ones are saying the people were just tenants? Is this bizarro world?

    Of course the UK government is being hypocritical about it, they could let the people go back to the other islands and take care of themselves, even though they would be poor, but they promised the USA a nice, safe, deserted island for their military base, and they care more about keeping the US happy.

    @Juanweather do you actually think exiling the Chagos islanders and renting their home to the US was an acceptable thing to do? Cause it seems that handing the Falklands over to Argentina against the wishes of the inhabitants would be very similar in principle.

    Jul 06th, 2016 - 11:55 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Terence Hill

    20 DemonTree
    Must be wonderful to be a 'fly-on-the-wall in Whitehall. You can speculate as what might have been and what could be. But it doesn't change the legal position between the Chagossians and the UK. The issue has been determined by a final competent court which ruled against them. So any to attempt give further legal argument is in principle 'res judicarta' and a waste of time as it is finished. So a difficult political issue has been thoroughly legally vetted, and they were wrong.

    Jul 07th, 2016 - 12:21 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Juanweather

    @20

    No, is not Argentina's case. The entire world knows there's a sovereignty issue with Malvinas, and the outcome of serious talks between UK and Argentina will ensure the best for islanders future (and if not, the world would act against it, as always did with our country).

    We respect the people, we won't change their lifestyle nothing will change. Islanders said they're were self sufficient in everything but defense and foreing policy, why would anything change?

    Look at the great example of the welsh in patagonia and lots of british living peacefully in Argentina. Hundreds of villages in BA and the rest of the country maintain their britishness in all ways possible. Come & see, we are the most visited country in south America we welcome people all over the world.

    Liverpool - Unveiling of the MIMOSA Memorial : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrAb1I8AiPI

    Argentina's Welsh-speaking community: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrAb1I8AiPI

    Over an hour video of British Architecture in Argentina: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrAb1I8AiPI

    Jul 07th, 2016 - 12:49 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Terence Hill

    22 Juanweather
    “The entire world knows there's a sovereignty issue with Malvinas” The reality is that the only legally admissible relatable facts are those from 1833, when no country recognized the Argentine claim. But, by tacit admission accepted the UK's claim. So you had support from no one then. What ever political support you now have is reduced to mere 'cheer-leader' status. Further, the now redundant resolution that Argentina seeks to rely on. Is in direct opposition to both the UN Charter's obligations of the UK and the Islanders, so it is of no effect. Moreover, in Professor Brownlie’s words, Principles of Public International Law, third edition, 1979 ”there is no obligation in general international law to settle disputes.

    Jul 07th, 2016 - 01:25 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Juanweather

    :-)

    Makes me smile when bringing political support to the argument.

    Imagine if Malcorra gets the UN, what would be of that fancy 'cheer-leader' status you say we have?

    Jul 07th, 2016 - 05:42 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    @ 19 JuanWitter
    Tut, tut, getting a bit upset are we Brains. I would have thought you were used to being ridiculed by now!

    Look, you can’t expect to be taken seriously when you never say anything intelligent, never mind answer any points raised, simply more inane, blithering, obfuscatory postings.

    Ok, I’ll help you out, because I’m good like that, I’ll make it real simple for you:

    Q: Why do you say this is an issue of “self-determination”, when the Chagos Islanders themselves, do NOT say that?

    Ok, remember everyone is reading the question, and will see your answer, and more to the point, if it is indeed, an answer, of any sort.

    So no pressure then, on you go.

    Oh and don’t worry about sarcasm just yet, your English clearly isn’t up to recognising or understanding it, never mind trying to use it, ok.

    @ 20 DemonTree
    You can live with being poor, you can’t live without fresh water, food or with your Islands being underwater.

    The British Gov are looking again at whether a “return” is, or could be made feasible, but don’t hold your breath, it won’t be sustainable, that is the bottom line here.

    The Americans recently exercised their option to extend the lease on the base for another 20 years, doubtful if they will be there that long.

    At the end of that time the Mauritian Gov claim the territory should be handed over to them, the Chagos are already the subject of a sovereignty dispute.

    JuanWittless denies the Falklanders right to self-determination when they claim it, yet insists the British respect the Chagossians right to it, even though they don’t invoke it??????

    Jul 07th, 2016 - 05:43 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Terence Hill

    24 Juanweather
    “Makes me smile when bringing political support to the argument” is the very issue that you raised. My point is that the UK holds all the unassailable legal rights. So it makes no difference if Malcorra becomes UNGS or not. As the only bodies invested with the power to make international law are UNSC and ICJ or like tribunal. As the UNGA is limited to passing none-binding advisements. At the end of the day attempted political coercion counts for nothing, it is he who holds the colour of right who wins.

    Jul 07th, 2016 - 09:15 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    @21 Terence Hill
    Legal isn't the same thing as right. Remember the government get to make the laws.

    They knew what they were doing when they removed the people, see this memo:

    ”The Colonial Office is at present considering the line to be taken in dealing with the existing inhabitants of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). They wish to avoid using the phrase 'permanent inhabitants' in relation to any of the islands in the territory because to recognise that there are any permanent inhabitants will imply that there is a population whose democratic rights will have to be safeguarded and which will therefore be deemed by the UN to come within its purlieu. The solution proposed is to issue them with documents making it clear that they are 'belongers' of Mauritius and the Seychelles and only temporary residents of BIOT. This devise, although rather transparent, would at least give us a defensible position to take up at the UN.”

    Unfortunately the judges can only decide what is legal under UK law, and apparently the UN don't care about the Chagos Islanders at all (they seem strangely selective in whose voices matter.)

    @25 Pugol-H

    There were people living on some of the other islands in the 60s and they obviously didn't die of hunger or thirst. As for the sea level rise, they would have the same risk as many other communities on low lying islands, and the Americans apparently aren't too worried about it as they just extended the lease for another 20 years.

    I wouldn't trust any survey done by the British government when they have such an obvious conflict of interest.

    @21 Juanweather
    Because Britain wanted to keep the islands, it claimed the inhabitants of Diego Garcia were contract workers belonging to Mauritius or Seychelles in order to avoid the UN recognising them as a people with a right to self determination. Argentina says that the Falklanders are just British settlers for the same reason.

    Jul 07th, 2016 - 10:53 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Terence Hill

    27 DemonTree
    “Legal isn't the same thing as right” By legal I take it you mean in relationship to international laws. In this instance your analogy is way-off as national governments do not create them.
    If your point is that the UK should have behaved better in regard to the Chagossians there are many in the UK who would agree with you. “Argentina says that the Falklanders are just British settlers for the same reason.” The Argentine government says many things about the Falklands with scant regard for the truth.

    Jul 08th, 2016 - 02:15 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Voice

    Demontree, the UN are strangely silent on the conquest of the desert too. No one in Argentina seems concerned about the Mapuche either? Or the fact that they are still persecuted.

    Jul 08th, 2016 - 02:15 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    @27 DemonTree
    Actually there have been several surveys done in last 50 odd years, commissioned by the Brits, the UN and I think the Chagossians, problem is they all reach the same conclusion.

    The conditions have changed a lot since the 60s and exactly as predicted, most if not all Island states Indian/S. Pacific oceans are experiencing problems, in some places quite severe, of costal erosion, inundation/saline contamination of fresh water aquifers.

    Particularly low lying coral atolls.

    As the UN know well.

    As I said, doubt if the Yanks will finish their time out there.

    I don’t mean to excuse what happened to the Chagossians, obviously wrong to any right or fair minded person, in my humble opinion, however they were compensated by the courts for that, and now we are, where we are.

    Where they want to go is rapidly becoming completely un-inhabitable, some common sense please!

    @29 The Voice
    To be fair, the “conquest of the Desert” is not exactly within living memory, is it?

    Jul 08th, 2016 - 03:07 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    @28 Terence Hill
    I meant in relation to the UK's own laws. It sounds like the government basically used a legal loophole to get what they wanted, with no regard for what was right.

    @30 Pugol-H
    For all I know you may be right about the livability of the islands, but it does seem the government is using it as an excuse, just like creating a marine reserve was an excuse to keep the people out. Otherwise they could let the Chagossians try to form a settlement and evacuate them when it inevitably failed.

    Jul 08th, 2016 - 06:33 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Terence Hill

    31 DemonTree
    Then you will have to explain which UK laws you are particularly criticizing. The use of a legal determination is the invocation of an adversarial system. Of course you're entitled to your subjective feelings. But you overstep the mark when you criticize the UK for defending itself, and being proved right. Both in it's domestic courts and the European Court of Human rights. But you can't have it both ways, in being able to make legal determinations from a moral pulpit. There is in most jurisdictions separation of church and state

    Jul 08th, 2016 - 09:49 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    @32 Terence Hill
    It was the use of the royal prerogative I was particularly objecting to, which the government used to nullify the high court's decision that the islanders should be allowed to return to the islands. I think it's fair to criticise the government for fighting so hard to continue an earlier injustice.

    I'm sure you know the UK has no separation of church and state; England has an official state church, but I don't think that's relevant to criticising the government's actions anyway.

    @29 The Voice
    I believe the UN does not usually consider events that happened before it's creation, which include the conquest of the desert. And it's been reported here recently that the UN was criticising Argentina for it's treatment of native people. However the UN is made up of states and as such has a definite bias towards supporting the rights of states as opposed to groups that lack their own state such as the Kurds.

    Jul 09th, 2016 - 12:35 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • screenname

    The UK has a contact with the US that requires no local population, and the UK are not going to break that contact so it is a waste of time arguing over if or if not the British Chagossian community should be allowed back: Until the contact expires it is a total waste of energy.

    But in my opinion the Mauritian stooge Olivier Bancoult should not be let anywhere near the islands. He has not (as the article claims) been fighting on behalf of the islanders...he's fighting for Mauritian control so they can claim a vast area of ocean and the resources that come with them! Mauritius is well over 1000 miles away and has no right to annex Diego Garcia against the wishes of what is as close to an indigenous population as you need for self determination as defined within the UN's guidelines on how to apply self determination.

    Just in reference to corbyn...is it any surprise that the comrade supports anything that would undermine what is effectively an unsinkable British aircraft carrier being used by the US in the Indian Ocean? We know he isn't taking a moral stand, because if that was the reason for his stance it would transfer over to the Falklands situation. It is clear corbyn is a snake with zero loyalty to the UK.

    Jul 09th, 2016 - 01:28 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Terence Hill

    33 DemonTree
    “The royal prerogative I was …objecting to, …used to nullify the high court's decision that the islanders should be allowed to return to the islands.” I personally agree with you. But, never less it is disingenuous of you not to include the final determination. Which is: “The legal action moved to the highest court in the land – the House of Lords – in June 2008. In October, Law Lords by a 3-2 decision, agreed with government defence and security concerns in denying the Chagossians' right to return.”
    World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Mauritius : Chagossians/Ilois
    http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/49749ce6c.html

    Jul 09th, 2016 - 02:41 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Clyde15

    Maybe there are some long-term strategic implications over the islands“ future and any transfer of sovereignty. The Chinese are in the process of building a blue-water navy. They are also known to be ”generous” to small impoverished nations,(such as Argentina) for facilities in their land.
    If the Chagossians returned then China could make the Chagossians an offer to build and operate desalination plants, port facilities and generally bank-roll them in exchange for the use of the the airfield and refueling facilities.
    This would extend their range into the Indian Ocean.
    The USA would not be happy bunnies and neither would India.

    So by handing back sovereignty we could seriously annoy our main ally and be extremely unwelcome in India.

    It might be the workings of my suspicious mind but politicians by nature are devious people and we do not find out what they actually think or why they made decisions until decades later.

    Jul 09th, 2016 - 11:47 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    @35 Terence Hill
    Doesn't the article above describe the final decision? I don't need to repeat it. It's obvious the government has treated the islanders very badly, even if they have found a legal way to do it.

    @34 Screenname
    The UK shouldn't have signed a contract promising uninhabited islands when the islands were, in fact, inhabited. I would Prefer them to negotiate and try to put things right as far as possible rather than fighting in the courts and using reserve powers to get around decisions that go against them.

    @36 Clyde15
    I think the main thing the US care about is being able to continue using the base themselves with no difficulties. Aren't there other small island nations in the region that China could bribe to allow them to build a base?

    Jul 10th, 2016 - 10:49 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Terence Hill

    37 DemonTree
    “I would Prefer them to negotiate and try to put things right as far as possible” This is not really about the unfortunate Chagossians, which most posters on this forum have indicated a sympathy towards them. Like child, it is you endlessly extolling the same tired refrain, get used in the real world most of us don't get to impose our will on others. Even the most favourable ruling for Islanders still excluded them from Diego Garcia.

    Jul 10th, 2016 - 03:24 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • screenname

    @37 DemonTree

    I'm not so sure that the Government has treated them that badly...they have been paid and (some of them) have been given the golden ticket of a UK passport...and it is not the UK's fault that some of the Chagossians were scammed by Mauritius.

    It could be argued that they have been treated no worse than Gibraltarians, who were evacuated from the Rock during WWII...the only Gibaltarians that were allowed to remain during that period were in the armed forces.

    And who is to say that the British Chagossians will not be allowed to return when the contract with the USA has expired? The UK has placed preservation orders in areas around Diego Garcia, which should have scuppered imperialist ideas of the Mauritian government to annex and exploit the area in the event that the civilian population return to take up their old lifestyle again.

    As for this idea of a negotiation...the UK was paid in nuclear technology, how on earth are they going to refund that?

    The history of the base on Diego Garcia may leave a bad taste in the mouth, but look at Russian actions in the Crimea and Chinese actions in the South China Sea: These island bases provide a reasonable substitute for the UK's shrinking navy against what seems to be the real expansionist threat in the world.

    Jul 10th, 2016 - 04:36 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    @39 Screenname
    I don't think evacuating people for a few years during an actual war, from a place that was very likely to be attacked, is comparable to exiling them for 70 years so you can lend their former home to another country to build a military base.

    And I'd say most people would agree they have been treated badly, by both the UK and Mauritius. As for the British passport, it seems most people in our former colonies were happy to give it up in return for independence.

    About those preservation orders, a tribunal set up by UNCLOS decided that they violate international law, since the UK promised to return the Chagos archipelago to Mauritius once it was no longer needed for defence.

    Obviously the UK can't refund nuclear technology, but it could offer the US something else in return for letting the Chagossians return to the other islands. It could also start talking to Mauritius to try and protect their interests if and when the islands are handed over.

    Jul 11th, 2016 - 11:01 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • screenname

    @40 DemonTree

    Evacuation in the interests of national defense is evacuation in the interests of national defense, no matter what the length of exile. you can guess at what the UK government would have done with Gibraltarians if WWII had lasted decades, but it is just that...a guess! We do know though, that the 1960's UK ruling class had no qualms about screwing over island populations they were meant to protect: Just look at The Falklands.

    You say 'our former colonies', I say when have I ever given my nationality? and when did Brits start spelling defense instead of defence? and which old bits of the British Empire gave up passports that would give they British nationality?

    Thank you for highlighting that UNCLOS have decided that the preservation orders violate international law...well that settles it then, the UK will either never remove their military use of Diego Garcia or will oversee a return of Chagossians that will allow them a free and safe choice to secede from Mauritian rule.

    You speak of the UK promise to return the Chagos archipelago to Mauritius...when has Mauritius ever had sovereignty over the archipelago?

    Jul 12th, 2016 - 12:52 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Terence Hill

    40 DemonTree
    “UNCLOS decided that they violate international law, since the UK promised to return the Chagos archipelago to Mauritius once it was no longer needed for defence.”
    Not exactly, the only substantive ruling they gave against the UK was the establishment of a MPA.
    “The tribunal found that it only had jurisdiction with respect to Mauritius’ Fourth Submission, … The UK’s declaration of the MPA was incompatible with substantive and procedural obligations under UNCLOS...In 1965, Mauritius and the UK negotiated in London on independence…. the UK detached the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius – formally with the agreement of the Mauritian Council of Ministers…”
    http://www.ejiltalk.org/mauritius-v-uk-chagos-marine-protected-area-unlawful/

    Jul 12th, 2016 - 02:21 am - Link - Report abuse 0

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