The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has made public a page with brings together information on UK government support to people who were born on the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) and their descendants.
”Chagossians’ are people who were born on BIOT (the Chagos Islands) and their descendants. Between 1968 and 1973 the UK government removed people from BIOT and relocated them to Mauritius and Seychelles. Following the passing of the British Overseas Territories Act (2002), many people who were born on BIOT and their children became British citizens and moved to the UK”.
That is part of the story, because once Chagossians were forcibly removed the BIOT archipelago was converted into Diego Garcia US military base given its strategic situation close to South East Asia and conflicts at the time. Chagossians appealed several times to the UK to return to no avail and ended going to the UN International Court of Justice in The Hague, which in 2019 issued an advisory opinion stating that UK did not have sovereignty over the Chagos Islands and that the administration of the archipelago should be handed as rapidly as possible to Mauritius.
In February 2022, five Chagossians visited the disputed archipelago with the assistance of Mauritius, fifty years after the United Kingdom forcibly exiled them.
But in 2022, the UK Parliament passed the Nationality and Borders Act. This Act will allow anyone of Chagossian descent to become a British citizen or a British Overseas Territories citizen, if they are not one already. The specific provision in the Act relating to Chagossians will come into force later in 2022. Other provisions, which a limited number of Chagossians may benefit from, came into force on 28 June 2022.
In 2016, the UK government announced the Chagossian Support Package, to improve the lives of Chagossians where they now live. The government committed to provide approximately £40 million of support over 10 years. The government has funded a number of community projects in the UK and Mauritius and is working to make more support available.
The UK government has previously arranged visits to BIOT for people of Chagossian descent. These visits were paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic but will restart when conditions allow.