The Chagossian people are seeking billions of dollars in damages from the United States under the Foreign Claims Act. The United Nations General Assembly, African Union, and International Court of Justice have all found that the forcible deportation of the Chagos Islanders a generation ago to make way for the US military base at Diego Garcia was unlawful and the continued military occupation is a serious violation of international law, according to a release from Chagossians’ lawyer, Dr, Jonathan Levy.
The islanders, known as Chagossians who are of African heritage are prevented from returning by Apartheid laws which allow them only brief visits under military guard while US and UK military, contractors, yachtsmen and scientists are permitted to remain in and visit the disputed archipelago.
The Chagossians despite having lived on the disputed islands for up to 8 generations have been stripped of property rights and citizenship. The Chagossians are seeking damages in the neighborhood of US$ 5 billion from the United States, approximately US$ 100,000 per Chagossian.
A well regarded academic study concluded that as of 2008, the Chagossians’ total damages already ranged between US$ 5.4 to US$ 13.8 billion.
The Chagossians now cite changed circumstances including the swearing in of self described anti-Apartheid fighter Joseph Biden. On December 8, 2020 the Trump administration denied their claims as: “Not in the interests of the US government.” The Chagossians seek a reconsideration by the Biden administration.
According to the Chagossians’ lawyer, Dr, Jonathan Levy: “The United Kingdom and United States are practicing Apartheid in the Chagos Islands in the name of national security by banning the Chagossians from returning home. We fully expect President Biden to take a closer look at this situation as he has come out 100% against racism and was the leading US opponent of South African Apartheid.”